Councilwoman Amy Bublak had one of the most expensive campaigns in Turlock’s history as she totaled around $30,000 while getting a $2,500 billboard on highway 99, accepting $10,000 and $5,000 donations from Monte Vista Crossings development, and more. Bublak’s last filing showing her updated campaign committee’s contributions and expenditures were due on February 2, 2009 along with every other required candidate.
Now Councilwoman Amy Bublak is putting on a fundraiser titled “Amy’s Affair” and is asking for $5,000 and $2,000 table sponsorships that have an asterisk next to the amount stating “Membership into Amy’s Inner circle Club with special benefits throughout the year.” Bublak supporters may also purchase $1,000 sponsorship tables or an individual ticket for $100.
What is the money for?
Right away people started questioning can Councilwoman Bublak be “bought” or is this her way of a sly “bribe?” Bublak faced the same accusations during her Turlock City Council campaign when many people were saying Bublak was bought by developers.
We would all assume that a Council Member can not be bought or would not bribe anyone because that would be illegal. Then we can also assume that Councilwoman Amy Bublak would answer that her vote on Council can not be bought and she is not bribing anyone because that would be illegal.
Well, that’s all we can do is assume because Bublak will not answer any questions. She referred the Modesto Bee to her campaign consultant (even though the election is over) and has not returned TurlockCityNews.com messages left at her cell phone number.
The most frequent question has not been if Bublak is bought or if Bublak is bribing people, but rather just “What is the money for?” A simple question right? Wrong.
The question that Bublak (a supposed elected representative who claimed on her campaign that she would communicate with her constituents) could clear up with a simple answer over the phone has drummed up so many accusations, some legal and some illegal, from her community including:
Bublak is raising money for legal counsel if she is implicated in the robo-call lawsuit filed by fellow Councilwoman Mary Jackson (legal).
Bublak’s vote can be bought (illegal).
Bublak’s invitation suggests bribery (illegal).
Bublak has campaign debt she needs to pay off (legal).
Bublak is raising money for another political office she plans on running for after only serving half her Turlock City Council term (legal).
Bublak is raising money that she will then donate to another fellow Republican candidate running for some Sacramento or Washington, D.C. office (legal).
Bublak is raising money so that she can afford to be a visible Council Member around the city (legal).
Bublak is raising money so that she can support the economically challenged Turlock Chamber of Commerce and the Turlock Journal (legal).
Bublak is trying to prove that she has more than just a handful of supporters who would now contribute to her (legal).
There is nothing wrong with holding a political fundraiser after an election. Fundraising after an election has been done and is legal, but Turlock may not be used to it.
Mayor John Lazar ran for State Assembly in 1989 and lost. Lazar held a fundraiser after he lost to pay off campaign debt. He did say what the fundraiser was for and also stated that it was mostly friends and family. Mayor Lazar never had an open campaign committee account until after his 2006 Mayoral Campaign. Lazar said that he currently uses the money to support his political action as Turlock’s Mayor because he is invited to so many events and other costly functions of an active mayor. Lazar also pointed out that he left the account open because there was around $10,000 left over after his winning campaign.
Turlock Mayors Brad Bates, Curt Andre, and John Lazar have never held fundraisers in between election campaigns and while in office.
Curt Andre won his first bid for Turlock Mayor in 1990, gave the remaining money to a charity (Smith Ranch), and closed his account. He ran uncontested until he decided not to run for re-election in 2006 and did not need to fundraise again. Andre said that he was criticized for having a big dollar campaign totaling around $14,000 in 1990.
Brad Bates ran for Turlock Mayor twice and won both times. Brad Bates opened his first account when he decided to run in 1982 and closed it after he won. Bates opened another account when he decided to run for re-election in 1986 and recalls having some money left over from his winning campaign which he believes was donated to the Donnelly Play Park later. Brad Bates never held a fundraiser in between election seasons.
Current Councilman Kurt Spycher has an open campaign committee account from when he ran for Turlock City Council in 2006 but it has not changed one cent since he won. Spycher uses his own money if he’s donating or attending events requiring purchased tickets.
Councilman Ted Howze also has an open campaign committee account that had around $6,000 left over after his victorious 2006 Turlock City Council campaign. Howze’s campaign was self funded so it doesn’t really change things whether he uses the money or not and for what. Councilman Howze has written a handful of checks for charitable reasons.
So besides the point that the title and wording of Councilwoman Amy Bublak’s fundraiser are unintelligent, there is nothing wrong with it.
A local fundraiser, Donna Dami, is organizing “Amy’s Affair” but when called questioning what it was for Dami said “I don’t know, you’d have to ask Amy.” As this article states, we did not get an answer from Amy. We do not even know if Amy Bublak proof read the invitation or not. We also do not know if her “campaign consultant” Carl Fogliani was involved until it was time to field a question for Bublak.
This issue of not knowing what our Councilwoman thinks is the bigger issue here, and has been.
During the 2008 Turlock City Council election Bublak did not attend a long-time scheduled Turlock Journal hosted debate. Besides the debate including a chance for potential Council Members to have real dialogue between each other, a score card on past controversial decisions was required to be submitted by the candidates. In the midst of all the bad press about Bublak’s large contributions by developers, Bublak responded in advance that she would not be attending due to a previous engagement. It was never revealed what the engagement was. When given the chance, Bublak declined to send in her scorecard revealing how she would’ve voted.
During the illegal robo-calls Bublak never came out and spoke against the calls that spoke in support of her while bashing fellow candidate Mary Jackson.
Bublak’s public communication on the Turlock Planning Commission for about two years and her two months on the Turlock City Council can be described when people say they can literally count her words.
The community has asked how their Councilwoman could vote to fire the Turlock City Manager after only two meetings with dealing with him. The entire Turlock City Council agreed that Mayor John Lazar would be the “spokesperson” on this matter. All Council Members except Amy Bublak returned calls respectfully stating that they couldn’t comment and that Mayor Lazar would do so on their behalf. That did not mean that the Council Members couldn’t explain how they felt.
Councilwoman Mary Jackson simply commented in the news that she didn’t feel she had enough experience with dealing with the City Manager to make that decision yet.
We may never know the details that may have decided former Turlock City Manager Tim Kerr’s fate because of confidentiality issues, but we have had public signs that pointed down this road. However, those signs were given from Council Members that did have experiences with the City Manager. The new Council Members should’ve been able to explain their vote either way, while not necessarily explaining everything that went on in the confidential closed session meeting.
The Turlock citizens and community need dialogue from our Councilwoman Amy Bublak. We don’t need referrals to campaign consultants, the election is over. All people are asking for are answers and constituent representation (to “speak” on our behalf).