Suddenly No Candidate Willing To Take Firefighter Money in June Election

davis_firedepartmentWe buried the lead in order to run today’s headline article.  And frankly the news got even bigger late last night.  One our big themes for the last two years has been the fact that city hall, particularly the Davis City Council has been bought and paid for by the firefighters’ union.  In 2008, they gave more than 20,000 dollars in both direct and indirect contributions.

We now know that regardless of who wins in June, they will not have had their campaign purchased by city employees whose contracts they need to negotiate.

Joe Krovoza was the first to announce that he would not accept money from city employees or anyone else who the city does direct business with.  He has from the start believed that his strength would be a diverse group of contributors and independence, the freedom to do what he believed was the best course of action without fear that he was beholden to any one interest.

Jon Li and Daniel Watts are not accepting any campaign contributions at all, and therefore do not have to worry about who is supporting their candidacies.

That left Rochelle Swanson and Sydney Vergis, who was supported by the fire fighters back in 2008.

At Friday’s debate, Rochelle Swanson was clear and unequivocal about not seeking or accepting the endorsement or contributions from any city employee group.  The question asked at the League of Women forum was, “Will you be accepting campaign donations and endorsements from public employee groups whose contracts you will be negotiating if elected?”

Ms. Swanson responded, “I have great respect for city employees who provide services for us.  I will not be accepting endorsements or bundling of donations any employee groups.” 

She went on to explain why, “There’s a couple of reasons why.  I think one is the perception.  While I don’t think that any particular candidate is for sale, or has the anticipation that they’re going to be influenced, perception matters.  I think it is important that that perception be one of trust for the candidates that are up there negotiating contracts.  On the other is the potential, the potential for the entities to expect to have special considerations down the road. “

Ms. Swanson continued, “I think that it’s important because we make tough decisions up there that people know that it’s based on what’s fair and what’s best for the city of Davis.  Not whether or not someone had contributions.  It’s tough, it’s expensive to have a campaign.  I’ve actually had to turn down money from a bargaining unit, they completely respected and understood why because they wanted to know that when I was making decisions for them, should I be elected, it would be what’s fair.”

Sydney Vergis was far more ambiguous in her response, in fact, she never directly answered the question.  She also failed to really comprehend the issue of bundling.

“Well I currently have the endorsement of the Sacramento Central Labor Council and I have received $100 from them and $100 from a local Operating Engineers group.  No bundled contributions.  It’s my understanding that the city limits one person or one business can only give $100.  And certainly that anyone who might be for sale for $100 should not run for office.  I think that in the coming years, we’re going need really good and trusting working relationships with our unions as we’re looking to negotiate employee contracts that fit the current economic climate.  I believe that any kind of negotiations should be done for not only what’s fair for the employee but what is sustainable for the city of Davis.”

That answer seemed to indicate that she would be open to seeking the endorsement.

However, the Vanguard sent her an email on Saturday asking her to make a more declarative statement and to her credit, she did just that.  She told the Vanguard late Saturday, “I have not solicited or received endorsement or contributions from any city employee group, including the firefighters, nor do I plan to.”

That is as clear and unequivocal as it gets.  That is exactly what we wanted to hear.  As we mentioned in 2008, she along with incumbents Stephen Souza and Don Saylor apologetically took large amounts of money both in bundled contributions and direct contributions.  In 2010, it is a different world and at least for a two year period, we will have a council not beholden to the fire fighters.  Once Don Saylor steps aside, we will have exactly one member on the council left that is bought and paid for.

We do take some issue with Ms. Vergis statement about bundled contributions and while we agree that anyone who would be bought for $100 should not run for office, she clearly missed the point about bundling.

If she did, Daniel Watts drove the point home in his response on Friday night at the League of Women Voters candidate’s forum.  Mr. Watts responded, ““There might be a $100 limit on the amount that every individual can contribute but when you have 45 firefighters that each donates $100 on the exact same day to the exact same candidate, that’s $4500 suddenly.  Then when the firefighters union spends an additional $5000 in independent expenditures, that now adds up to $9500.  So suddenly $100 from one individual has become $9500 and that is a significant amount of money in a city this size.  That’s enough to pay for fliers and then if the firefighters go out and they knock door to door, how much is that worth to a candidate who’s running for city council?”

He could continue, “Public employees unions, even the appearance of a conflict of interest is a problem because it reduces the amount of trust that you the Davis citizen have in your city government.  I’m not accepting any money from firefighters; most of whom don’t even live in Davis.  And when they buy and pay for 3 out of the 5 members of the Davis City Council, and they’re not even Davis residents themselves that’s a big problem.”

Jon Li and Joe Krovoza also indicated that they would not accept such money either.

Jon Li pointed out, that while he is not accepting any contribution, along with Daniel Watts, that he was “appalled by what public salaries have become.”  He continued talking about the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act of 1975 that Jerry Brown signed.  He concluded, “I understand the history and the politics of why it happened.  But it led to continuous escalating salaries and it’s out of control.  So I think we’ve got to stop it.  I think Vallejo was the future for too many cities.”

Joe Krovoza also reiterated his previous position.  “I’m not accepting any bundled funds.  I’m not soliciting bundled funds.  The intent of the voters in Davis is to have a $100 limit from people from a broad part of the community who decide that they like the candidate and they want to give to the candidate.”

He explained his position, “I think the test is to look at whose doing business directly with the city council.  So if I’m sitting on the dais I don’t want to have people coming in front of the council who are doing direct private business with the city council.  I certainly don’t want a group coming that has bundled their contributions to council.  I have designed our finances for my campaign to some extent taking advantage of the fact that I’m a fundraiser, to very broadly seek support.  We have 250 or so individual donors to the campaign and I’m very very proud of that.  That’s how it’s going to be.  When I was in law school I wrote papers on election law, I became acutely aware of soft money in politics and if I’m going to run, I’m going to serve, I want to do so with a great amount of independence.  That’s where I am on this issue.”

And where we are now is in a very different world than we were two years ago when most candidates did not even think twice about seeking and accepting an endorsement from a public employee group like the fire fighters.  Up until 2008, the fire fighter endorsed candidates had won 7 of the previous 9 elections, only Sue Greenwald’s 2008 campaign and Lamar Heystek were able to win without support of the powerful union.

And we saw the impact of their endorsement three times from 2008 to the present.  On 3-2 votes, the council buried the Aaronson report on the Grand Jury, they passed a battalion chief model, and they passed a very favorable MOU.  Each time, it was those who recieved contributions on the yes side and those who did not on the no side.  At the very least, as we go forward and have to make difficult decisions, we will know that the reason the council voted the way they voted from 2010 to 2012 is not due to contributions made in the 2010 council election.

Today is a great for the city of Davis, as the city council will go back to the citizens and not the employee groups over which the council has to bargain and make other tough decisions.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. rusty49

    So if you’ve taken money from firefighters in the past are we to assume that all ties are broken because one is not taking donations from them this election cycle?

  2. davisite2

    ‘….we will know that the reason the council voted the way they voted from 2010 to 2012 is not due to contributions made in the 2010 council election.”

    What is to prevent the Firefighter’s Union from just transferring the money ,that would have been bundled and donated directly to their favorite candidate, to their fund for “independent expenditures” in support of the same candidate? Much like the campaign finance “reform”,passed by Congress, this does little to address the problem and actually has the potential to aggravate it as these independent expenditures are much more hidden from scrutiny.

  3. Greg Kuperberg

    Probably the firefighters themselves concluded that they are box office poison and decided not to give money to candidates anyway. Which is just as well. The issue is at best a distraction and at worst does have some partial influence on the firefighter’s contracts. I think that it will bring some clarity, because whether city council members blow soft or hard on this issue, salaries are unlikely to look all that different from what they would have otherwise. That’s the way that collective bargaining works. If anything, it could be easier to steer the number of firefighters and their duties, than to influence the total compensation of a firefighters.

    But I will say that this post is extremely smug satisfaction from someone who hasn’t disclosed his donations at all. If transparency is really that important, then it doesn’t mix with hypocrisy.

  4. biddlin

    For someone who aspires to a more civil council, Mr. Watts certainly misses the mark with slanderous hyperbole like, “And when they buy and pay for 3 out of the 5 members of the Davis City Council,” I dare say those three members might take some offense at the suggestion they have sold their votes. To make such assertions is at least understandable as a time honored campaign strategy, and certainly encouraged in this forum.

  5. David M. Greenwald

    Davisite: I don’t believe that they will do that without the candidates seeking and accepting their endorsement.

    Rusty: That’s still a concern, but at least the trough is disconnected at this time.

    Biddlin: I think it’s an accurate statement.

  6. Greg Kuperberg

    It is a wild exaggeration to point to some 10% or 20% of campaign contributions that come from firefighters, and then say that that candidate is bought and paid for by firefighters. First, campaign contributions aren’t salary and they also aren’t direct funding for projects. Second, if you can be bought and paid for with 10%, what is the other 90% for?

    Of course in politics we are all used to hyperbole — up to a point. What makes it unacceptably hypocritical is that someone in the discussion really is bought and paid for by undisclosed donations. It appears to be “bought and paid for” in the literal sense: Direct funding for projects and/or cash in pocket.

  7. Siegel

    “It is a wild exaggeration to point to some 10% or 20% of campaign contributions that come from firefighters, and then say that that candidate is bought and paid for by firefighters.”

    Except it’s not exactly accurate to say only some 10 to 20% of campaign contributions come from firefighters. Sydney Vergis for example had one third of her direct contributions come from firefighters in 2008. As Daniel Watts points out above, that doesn’t include the independent expenditure campaign, he puts that number at $5000, but what it really is is one mailer from the firefighters and one door hanger that the firefighters drop. Add all of that up, and that’s probably half of Sydney Vergis’ 2008 campaign. Even if she does not take a dime from the firefighters this time, they put her on the map and she knows it.

  8. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”It is a wild exaggeration to point to some 10% or 20% of campaign contributions that come from firefighters, and then say that that candidate is bought and paid for by firefighters.”[/i]

    Is that also your conclusion about how our Congress works, Greg? Or do you think it’s just a coincidence that, for example, the defense contractors whose contributions make up 10% or 20% of a congressman’s campaign fund also get billion dollar contracts to buy armaments we don’t need or use? You think it’s just a coincidence that the farm groups which contribute millions of dollars to our congressmen get paid back billions of dollars in farm subsidies? You think it’s a coincidence that firefighters up and down our state have contributed millions of dollars to members of city councils and gotten back billions of dollars in pay raises and pensions and other benefits? Amazing how those coincidences work.

  9. Rich Rifkin

    Another amazing coincidence is how Lois Wolk, when she bucked the firefighters last year on their municipal bankruptcy bill, she was suddenly taken off the local government committee, which she had been the chairman of. I guess it’s just a coincidence that all of the Democrats in leadership position in Sacramento are taking tens of thousands of dollars each from the firefighters. Wow, amazing how these coincidences seem to work.

  10. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Except it’s not exactly accurate to say only some 10 to 20% of campaign contributions come from firefighters.[/i]

    But your argument has a bait and switch. Daniel Watts said 3 out of 5 members of the city council, and now you’re saying Sydney Vergis. She isn’t one of those 3 out of 5.

    As for Sydney Vergis, it is a wild exaggeration to equate 2008 with 2010. Chancellor Linda Katehi was paid $350,000 by the University of Illinois in 2008; that does not mean that she is beholden to them now in 2010. I’m sure that the way that this all started with all of these candidates is that the firefighters thought that they agreed with Vergis, Saylor, Souza, and (at first) Greenwald. The wanted to help candidates who they liked and who liked them, not “buy and pay for” people. If it was really that important to the firefighters, they would not have decided this time that it’s better to stay out of the campaign.

    Again, it’s not that you’re 100% wrong; there is an element of truth in all of this. Yes, campaign contributions do influence politics. But I have to get back to the great hypocrisy of this discussion, that it is hosted by someone who really is bought and paid for by undisclosed sponsors.

  11. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Or do you think it’s just a coincidence that, for example, the defense contractors whose contributions make up 10% or 20% of a congressman’s campaign fund also get billion dollar contracts to buy armaments we don’t need or use?[/i]

    You are swinging between wild extremes in order not to understand what I’m saying. I already said that there is some truth in these concerns, and how much truth depends on the example. It is fair to say that Congressmen are FRACTIONALLY bought and paid for by campaign contributions from defense contractors. However, campaign contributions from defense contractors are only a fraction of a Congressman’s concerns and only a fraction of the reason that defense contractors make so much money.

    More precisely, your scenario is an exaggeration at many levels. First, it matters at least as much that Congressmen and their relatives can get lobbying jobs for defense contractors. Second, it matters at least as much that defense contracts directly lead to in-district employment. Third, it matters at least as much that Americans sincerely want to spend a lot of money on defense, and generally trust contractors for high-technology work. Fourth, defense spending (per GDP) has in fact declined substantially since the height of the Cold War. And fifth, defense spending goes miles and miles beyond anything that the firefighters are doing. The average American spends $2000-$3000 on defense every year. The average Davis resident spends about $150 on firefighters.

    But again, if you discount the factor of 20 by which you’re exaggerating, after that your argument is 5% valid.

  12. Siegel

    Greg: You gave a number that is incorrect, Vergis was the most convenient to demonstrate. But they did the same thing for Saylor and Souza. They probably had the most influence the first time round back in 2004 when both were challengers who ended up knocking off an incumbent. The fact is the firefighters for each of those candidates gave them $4000 directly and then added a mailer and a door hanger that they walked. How much would you say that is worth? They are far in and away the most influential donors. And that doesn’t even speak to the fact that they stack community chambers when their big issue comes up just to remind the council who got them there.

  13. roger bockrath

    CONGRATULATIONS DAVID! The power of the pen has triumphed again in well read Davis. I think I just answered my own question from the other day about why you don’t run for the Council. Clearly your influence on local politics is greater here than it might be as a Council member ! Thank you so much for publishing your “expensive” mailer on the connection between firefighter donations to candidates and those candidate’s voting record on firefighter salaries and benefits. Your mailer educated me and, I’m sure, many more.

    I fail to understand Greg’s comments re: disclosure of donations for the Vanguard. Running an opinion blog is not the same as voting on how taxpayer monies are spent. That’s why we have rules governing campaign contributions to political campaigns and not people’s right to free speech! Since Greg implies that he is not contributing to the Vanguard( except, or course, by contributing his insight and opinions),maybe he should start his own blog to exert his personal influence on city politics.

    Again, CONGRATULATIONS on the success of the Vanguard and it’s readers in influencing city politics in a positive way!

  14. Greg Kuperberg

    Brian: First of all, 2004 is not the current city council either, although yes, Saylor and Souza ran then. But since you’re asking about the numbers, according to records posted at DCN, Don Saylor got $34,756 in campaign contributions, of which $3,800 or 11% came from 38 firefighters. Souza got $22,590, of which $4,000 or 18% came from 40 firefighters. So when I said 10-20%, my numbers were correct.

    How much have these contributions been worth? Well, I agree that they are worth something. Saylor has great respect for firefighters — he told me so himself. But the idea that that 10-20% makes the city council majority “bought and paid for” by firefighters is, as I said, an aggressive exaggeration. Even if that money had gone into their pockets, which it didn’t, it would still be an exaggeration. If you paid me $4000 to make a web site for you (say), you would certainly not have bought and paid for me.

  15. Greg Kuperberg

    Well, Roger, there’s an obvious contradiction in what you’re saying. First you argue that it doesn’t matter who pays David, because it’s just an opinion blog. Then you congratulate him for his influence. But obviously, with great influence comes great responsibility. As a matter of ethics and common sense, he should explain who sponsors his influence. If not, then at the very least, the message is weakened by hypocrisy.

  16. roger bockrath

    Greg, I think I understand the point you make here, but the few bucks that the community invests in this blog is not solely to support David’s opinion. It’s wide open for you and I to express our disagreement, and influence the community as well. In contrast, once a City Council member spends money to get into power, they get to do as they please and our power to express our objections is severely restricted.

  17. Siegel

    Why are you only counting hard money Greg, as opposed to the mailer and door hanger and labor to distribute, that’s easily another $7000 if not more in contributions, that quickly pushes it up to 25% if not higher.

  18. Greg Kuperberg

    Brian, I’m sticking to documented numbers. The firefighters are hardly the only group that participates independently in campaigns. For instance an endorsement in the Enterprise has an enormous amount of sway.

    If you are concerned about independent expenditures, fine, I agree that it’s a reasonable concern. But that is exactly what’s wrong with David not divulging anything about his sponsorship. He participated in a big way in Measure P. His flyer that led to this “bought and paid for” slogan was also political agitation that you can easily connect to the council campaign. So who bought and paid for his flyer, and is there an agenda behind it?

  19. davisite2

    “Davisite: I don’t believe that they will do that without the candidates seeking and accepting their endorsement. “

    DPD: nowhere do I read that the candidates would refuse any endorsement, only direct campaign contributions.

    The Firefighters can use “soft money” to generate campaign material for their favorite candidate. Indeed, there would need to be some small print somewhere on the literature that identifies them as the originator. A committee, “independent” of the candidate’s own campaign, called,for example, “Vergis for Davis City Council”. could also be created to meet this requirement to identify the literature’s origin.

  20. David M. Greenwald

    Greg: The firefighters spend $8000 on an independent expenditure campaign last year that included a mailer and a door hanger as Brian explained. They then used their members to distribute that material. Are you telling me that that does not count?

  21. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Are you telling me that that does not count?[/i]

    David, if the question what fraction of a campaign is represented by firefighters, there is a numerator, what the firefighters spent, and there is a denominator, what everyone spent. If it is important to count independent expenditures in the numerator, then you should also include all independent expenditures in the denominator.

    If you do a calculation only with independent expenditures by the firefighters and not those by anyone else, then that’s Calvinball mathematics.

    Not to mention that independent support that is clearly attributed to firefighters should only have counted for so much, given that it should have been obvious what makes firefighters happy. The problem with independent campaign ads in national politics is that the voters often don’t know the motives behind the ads.

    But again, if it’s that important to gauge independent campaign expenditures, let’s start with the expenditures in this election cycle. For instance, your flyer. Unlike the firefighters, whoever paid for that flyer hasn’t stepped forward. You said it was “voter education”, but that’s one of the oldest euphemisms in the book.

  22. David M. Greenwald

    You didn’t answer the question. I don’t need a math lesson. You didn’t add in the independent expenditures when you calculated the percentage.

  23. Greg Kuperberg

    That’s right, because I didn’t see those numbers. So let’s go ahead and take the recorded numbers ([url][/url]) for campaign contributions for 2004, including the listed amounts for independent expenditures. The firefighters claimed that they spent $1113.42 independently, split three ways between Saylor, Greenwald, and Souza. So using that number, it makes very little difference to the point. Especially considering that another actor, Steve Guidero, spent $20,000 independently for his political interests.

    Now you could argue that this $1100 from the firefighters can’t be realistic, because they also went out and canvassed. But that too wouldn’t be even-handed mathematics, because all of the campaigns use a lot of volunteer labor for many purposes.

    Also again, with these independent expenditures, the firefighters made a completely above-board and direct case for themselves. I don’t endorse their message, but in this activity they didn’t “buy and pay for” anyone. If I showed up on doorsteps to say, “Vote for Joe Krovoza because he likes mathematicians”, it wouldn’t ethically be any different. (Although it would be silly.)

  24. David M. Greenwald

    Forgot how much less they spent back in 2004 compared to 2008 when they spent $8000. I don’t buy the split three ways bit though, the marginal cost of going from one candidate to two candidates to three candidates is zero. Nevertheless I’m prepared to say that the overall cost was a bit more than 10 percent in 2004. But a bit higher in 2006 and especially 2008. Each candidate was effectively getting $12,000 plus labor by 2008. That’s a substantial influence.

  25. rusty49

    There’s probably nobody on this blog that disagrees with David more than I but on this subject David is dead on. Thanks for the good reporting.

  26. Greg Kuperberg

    First, a phrase such as “substantial influence” is already closer to correct than “bought and paid for”. My thesis advisor has had a “substantial influence” on me. Does that mean that I am “bought and paid for” by my thesis advisor? No.

    Second, no, it isn’t honest to triple-count an independent expenditure just because the firefighters endorsed three candidates with it.

    And third, Daniel Watts said that THREE members of the city council were “bought and paid for” by the firefighters. When I look at Ruth Asmundson’s in campaign contributions in 2006, I see $0 from firefighters out of $20,263. When I look at her contributions in 2002, I see $1200 from firefighters out of $33,140. So we’re looking at 2% out of two election cycles in the case of Ruth Asmundson.

    A phrase like “bought and paid for” implies corrupt influence. Especially in the case of Ruth Asmundson, unless more evidence shows up in favor of that charge, it’s an accusation worthy of Rush Limbaugh.

    (And hey, if “rusty49” considers it good reporting, maybe it’s because reality has a well-known liberal bias.)

  27. Don Shor

    If the loosely organized slow-growth coalition in Davis got better organized, it could out-donate and out-hustle the firefighters or any other group. Anybody CAN donate in an organized manner; anybody CAN go door to door, send out flyers, and make phone calls. When a group finds their interests will be best represented by a particular slate of candidates and the stakes are high (developing peripheral farmland, ratifying contract agreements), it is a powerful motivator. Mariko Yamada would probably not be in the Assembly today were it not for the support unions provided in donations and canvassing.

    We only tend to see a quid pro quo when we are on the opposing side. There is no need for inflammatory rhetoric such as “bought and paid for.” I don’t question the integrity of our current council members. There is a convergence of interests, and I have little doubt that if the issues were on your side you would simply consider it business as usual. Daniel Watts and Jon Li seem to feel that sensational comments will get them publicity and enhance their electoral chances. I am afraid they are correct on the former, but I hope they are wrong on the latter.

  28. biddlin

    “Each candidate was effectively getting $12,000 plus labor by 2008. That’s a substantial influence.” No David, that is substantial support, but you assert that equals influence. As far as I can determine none of the 2008 top three finishers has been charged criminally or civilly for any malfeasance. Voters have enough confidence in Don Saylor’s character and qualifications to have elected him to another office. Stephen Souza is, by all appearances, a successful small business and family guy, who supports humanitarian causes. Ruth Asmundson has raised her family, served on the school board and as Mayor. Their two great crimes seem to be that they want to plan for the inevitable growth that will come whether planned for or not, and they approved a contract for Fire that you don’t like. You use the power of your blog and the oft cited mailer to attack Sydney Vergis’ endorsements by labor, and at the same time refuse to list contributors to the mailer on the grounds that it isn’t political, since it doesn’t endorse a candidate. In what is essentially a four horse race, that is the height of sophistry. Your coverage of the candidate forums is laudable, but don’t feign objectivity, your anti-growth and anti-labor bias is obvious. Your assertions that all of Davis’ fiscal woes are due to public service pensions and salaries and therefore should be balanced on labors back are offensive to anyone who has spent the bulk of their career serving the public. Thanks for keeping it honest GK.

  29. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]If the loosely organized slow-growth coalition in Davis got better organized, it could out-donate and out-hustle the firefighters or any other group.[/i]

    Don, the no-growth coalition in Davis is so well-organized that it hardly needs to lift a finger to get what it wants. And there lies the problem, because the firefighters aren’t actually a growth issue. The political dynamics is totally different. Developers are of no use to anyone who already has a house in Davis, while firefighters can save that house from a fire.

    [i]There is no need for inflammatory rhetoric such as “bought and paid for.”[/i]

    I agree, but note that phrase did not originate with Daniel Watts; he was quoting David’s flyer.

  30. pairadeez

    While David is on this subject, wait let me rephrase that. While David will not change the subject about the firefighters and whatever else they have wronged him or the city of. As we all can see he is against them no matter what the issue is. Again, I thought this was a non-bias blog. So David, why have you failed to mention that in the 2008 council election your wife was seeking the Firefighter’s union endorsement? If she would have received the firefighter’s endorsement, and won a spot on the council, would you be posting her name as someone that was bought and paid for by the firefighter’s union?

  31. David M. Greenwald

    Well pairadeez, it’s quite simple, the budget along with employee compensation (71% of the budget), pensions, retirement health care, is the biggest issue facing the city of Davis right now. So why wouldn’t I be talking about it during the middle of a crucial campaign?

    “As we all can see he is against them no matter what the issue is.”

    I can only remember being against them on two issues. One the grand jury report. Two the budget. Can you cite another example of a single time I was against them that would substantiate “no matter what the issue is.”

    ” Again, I thought this was a non-bias (sic) blog. “


    “So David, why have you failed to mention that in the 2008 council election your wife was seeking the Firefighter’s union endorsement?”

    In what context in this article should I have mentioned it?

    But since you bring it up, here a few points I have.

    1. My wife and I do not agree on every issue, I know this probably is as shocking as your above statement when you found out this may not be a “non-bias” blog.

    2. Did you consider the possibility that there was a reason that she didn’t get the endorsement? Perhaps it answers the rest of your questions. The truth is that Cecilia has worked in labor for years. In 2005, she marched side-by-side with the firefighters. She has known Bobbie Weist longer than she has known me. So it only made sense for her to seek the support of a labor group in Davis. What she did not know was the issues that I have now been writing about for two and a half years regarding pensions, regarding salaries, regarding political influence.

    3. At that time, Rich Rifkin had just written his column which got me thinking about the issues that are familiar now. Before that it hadn’t been on my radar and I hadn’t realize how serious the threat actually was.

    4. As it turns out, Mr. Weist was not proud of his decision at that time not to endorse Cecilia. He came to meet with her at Bernardos and spent an hour getting drunk before he had the courage to tell her that he was endorsing someone who had never been involved in labor in her life over Cecilia. As you might suspect, Mr. Weist probably realized what apparently you don’t, you cannot buy my wife for anything, you cannot control her either. If you think Cecilia can be bought and paid for you don’t know her very well and you certainly don’t know her history in this town.

    5. At that point, he probably nullified your last point which is that had Cecilia received the endorsement and won, she would have been more like Sue, not bought and paid for, voting according to her own conscience and the cat would have been out of the bag.

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