By Buck Shott
May 28, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – With just 10 days until the June 8 primary, hit pieces are out in droves--like killer bees swarming to finish off hapless victims. As usual, there’s a fair amount of truth-stretching going on. Greatest “hits” of the season include:
DOSE OF TRUTH SERUM, PLEASE: A flyer that landed in voters’ mailboxes this week states that Republican State Senate candidate Jeff Stone's "pharmacy license was put on a three-year probation" and that he was fined for violating laws regarding sales of controlled substances. The State Pharmacy Board site shows that Stone has been licensed since 1981 and his present license is “clear” and expires in April 2011. (Stone did settle with the state over paperwork/administrative violations, including one in which doctors were inadvertently provided wrong forms relating to sale of certain drugs.) The mailer also runs a photo purportedly of the Press-Enterprise newspaper proclaiming “Mayor settles case” dated 1999. Only one problem: Stone wasn’t the Mayor of Temecula in that year, according to the bio on his website.
The flyer was funded by Taxpayers for Anderson for Senate. Joel Anderson was fined $20,000 by the FPPC for accepting five donations in excess of the state's legal limit for campaign contributions, but now accuses his opponent of “dishonesty."
MAILER TARGETS ANDERSON: Meanwhlie Anderson's opponents are fighting back with a flyer touting a lengthy list of Republicans against Anderson. But Anderson counters that hit pieces targeting him were sent by a group that doesn't identify its backers. "That's illegal," he told East County Magazine, adding that he suspects the mailers were paid for by developers doing business with an opponent.
ANDERSON SPEAKS OUT: In an exclusive phone interview today, Anderson spoke out in detail about the allegations of money-laundering that have been raised. "There was no money laundering," he said, noting that his campaign reported all donations and voluntarily returned funds to donors when the FPPC informed his campaign that donations were received in excess of the $3,900 legal limit. "We ran into problems because we did disclose our donations," he said, noting that the hit piece launched against him came from undisclosed sources. "How many busboys and students gave my opponent $3,900?" he aske, then suggested that many large donations have not been reported by Stone.
For the first time, Anderson agreed to answer questions from ECM regarding details about the five large donations, which were given to a Republican Central Committee by the Hamann Construction family members, two Indian tribes and SDG&E. Within days, nearly identical amounts were donated by the GOP committee to Anderson's campaign.
Asked if he was aware that Republican Central Comittee donations to his campaign had originated from those donors, Anderson said no. "We brought in a half million dollars back then. Nobody was watching it all," he said. "This was a flat-out mistake." Asked specifically if he was denying ever asking individual donors to give money to a Central Committee for the purpose of bypassing limits on individual donations, he said, "I never solicited a donation for me. I'm the number one fundraiser for others in the Assembly." He said donating to Central Comittees was a common practice for donors who wanted their money to help in targeted races. He also added that campaign finance laws are complicated, making it easy for mistakes to occur.
He added, "I've been endorsed by Deputy Sheriffs, police, the CHP. Do you think they'd endorse me if I was a money launderer?"
HE’S BAAAAACK: In 2008, write-in candidate Joe Ryan got arrested for trying to crash a debate among 52nd Congressional candidates. (He later sued to enforce his rights to be included on a public campus). Now he’s running again as an independent—and apparently still hasn’t figured out how to collect enough signatures or pay a fee to qualify for the ballot. That hasn’t stopped him from being a thorn in the side of Congressman Hunter and others in the race.
DID HUNTER PAD HIS RESUME? Ryan posted a website in which he asks, “Did Duncan Hunter fabricate his resume?” in which he notes that Hunter claimed to have built and sold a high-tech company building websites, but deleted that from his bio after being confronted by Ryan, who claims he could “not find one scintilla of evidence” that the business claim was true. Hunter later claimed experience as a business analyst and operator of a home development company, arguments Ryan also disputes. (Ryan is bipartisan in his trashing, dissing Democrat Ray Lutz as a “partisan” funded by “the usual suspects” who support the Democratic Party. )
Now Lutz, who founded the government watchdog group CitizensOversight.org, is getting in some digs of his own. On his campaign webpage, he points out that the resume on the League of Women Voters website, www.Vote-Smart.com, for Congressman Duncan D. Hunter is actually that of his dear old Dad. “We have asked them to make this correction but are still waiting,” Lutz’s campaign site states. “Don’t let them fool you, this is not the experienced legislator but the “baby-Duncan” son who only won his seat due to this name confusion!” He suggests the Hunter camp could have fixed the problem long ago but that “the Hunter campaign would not survive without the name-confusion that borders on outright cheating!”
FRONT LINES, BUT DON’T TELL: Congressman Hunter, meanwhile, seems unconcerned about pot shots from Hunter, Ryan, and GOP primary opponent Terri Linnell (who claims to have endorsements from Tea Party leaders but fails to list them on her website). As election day draws nigh, Congressman Hunter isn't out stumping for votes on the campaign trail. Instead, he's heading to Afghanistan to focus on national security issues and meet with troops, an aide disclosed today. That’s after drawing both praise and fire on the home front, where Hunter taken a stance against a Defense Authorization Bill that contains a repeal of the don’t ask, don’t tell policy. Congressman Bob Filner (D-San Diego), by contrast, has pledged to support repealing DADT.
SO TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL: San Diego Citybeat’s “Something for everyone to hate” endorsements cheekily urge voters to “just vote exactly how we tell you to, and everything will be ok.” Citybeat’s Editorial staff supported Steve Whitburn for the 4th Supervisorial seat, leveling this zinger against incumbent Ron Roberts: “While not as objectionable as Horn—but who is?—Roberts is, by all accounts, a mean sonofabitch and a pain in the ass to work with.” Citybeat’s editorial board also opted for Vista City Councilman Steve Gronke over Supervisor Bill Horn in District 5 and chose Sheriff Bill Gore over challenger Ja LaSuer “who gets his jollies by making inmates wear pink underwear."
“IMMIGRANT PRISONER FIB EXPOSED: The Sacramento Bee reveals that Meg Whitman, Republican candidate for Governor exaggerated the number of illegal immigrants in prisoners just a tad….well actually, a lot. She claimed in a campaign appearance that probably 30% of state prisoners are illegal immigrants.
In fact, it’s only about 11%. That includes legal immigrants who lost their legal status after being convicted of felonies. So why don’t we deport those? Turns out…we do—but only after their sentences are served, presumably to prevent criminals from being turned lose south of the border and crossing into the U.S. again. The feds reimburse state and local governments for some costs of locking up illegal immigrants guilty of a felony or two misdemeanor, but reimbursement covered only about 10% of the total $970 million costs in 2009-10. Governor Schwarzenegger and Senator Feinstein have both sought more federal funds. Even if fully funded, however, eliminating the cost of jailing all illegal immigrants would provide less than 1/20th the amount needed to balance the state’s $20 billion deficit—the biggest “whopper” of all.
Note: An earlier version of this column referred to the FPPC fining Anderson for "money-laundering." While opponents have made this characterization, the FPPC specifically fined Anderson for accepting five donations in excess of the legal maximum. The case was settled and no criminal charges were filed.