Closing Up Shop: End of the Line For Ill-Fated IE Committee

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The Independent Expenditure Committee that triggered so much attention early in May will not be launching a second mailer, after their first mailer has likely backfired, depending on what its actual purpose was.  Or at least it appears that way.

On May 8, a mailer from the group backed by Sacramento-based unions, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 447, IBEW Local 340 and Operating Engineers Local Union 3, in Support of Stephen Souza and in Opposition to Sue Greenwald, sent out an attack mailer to Davis residents reminding them of Councilmember Sue Greenwald’s publicized incident with former Mayor Ruth Asmundson.

On Tuesday, the Davis City Clerk’s office received paperwork from the group closing their committee.

The mailing triggered anger throughout the community and appears to have boosted its intended target, Councilmember Greenwald, while harming the candidate it purported to help, Stephen Souza, though the lines there remain blurry.

The filing contains a good deal more information that both confirms what we previously suspected and provides us with some new information.

The committee itself spent $11,306.06 on the consulting, production and distribution of the ill-fated mailer opposing Sue Greenwald.

As we knew before, the three unions listed as supporters of this effort contributed $25,000 to the effort and each group had some of that returned to the unions per this filing.  Operating Engineers received $1426.07 twice; the Plumbers received $2852.14 in refund.  IBEW also got $1426.07 back.

There were three principal consultants that are listed.  There is a $3500 payment to NEKJ Inc on Picasso Ave. We know from the PO Box return address on the mailer that this is the consulting company owned by James Burchill.

A $1500 payment for consulting to Carl Schultz, a Sacramento-based Marketing and Communications Manager, was listed along with other ones for $775, $375, and $1620.

And, amazingly enough, there is a $67.50 and also an $82.50 payment to Jon Li for consulting.

They also show a $960 payment and a $640 payment to Hal Hammond Graphics in Sacramento for Design, Production and Print Management.  And a $555 payment to Statewide Information Systems for their data lists.

Allied Printing did the print job, which cost them $4603.56.

They paid another $1938.50 and a separate payment of $3500 to Olson Hagel and Fishburn, LLP, for “Professional Services” despite listing Jim McGowan, a Davis-based CPA, as their treasurer.

They report a $2453.34 payment to Capitol Mailing Services in West Sacramento for the mailer and a $2155.81 payment to the US Postmaster.

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The fact that James Burchill was involved is as suspected.

Last week, the Vanguard learned Jon Li was involved at least in the planning of the Independent Expenditure campaign.  Frankly, even after talking with Mr. Li last Tuesday, full details of his involvement remain sketchy.

In the Vanguard comment posted on the morning of the IE, Mr. Li writes: “The Mother’s Day IE is going to be so much fun that I am going to probably go to council to see just how much Sue likes Stephen.”

He adds, “And my fingerprints are ALL OVER IT.”

As mentioned, the Vanguard spoke with Jon Li.  He told me his involvement in this was limited to a few phone calls and some suggestions. He was very adamant that this was about Sue Greenwald, not him, and that he viewed the behavior of Sue Greenwald on that night in question as being her normal behavior rather than something out of character.

He confirmed that James Burchill was involved.

Councilmember Sue Greenwald almost immediately implicated Mr. Burchill.

She wrote on the Vanguard early Tuesday afternoon, “A number of months ago, Jim Burchill of James Burchill & Associates approached me and told me that he was representing a building trades union, and that they really wanted the surface water project. He told me that the union was going to spend serious PAC money in our city election, and that I could be the beneficiary if I supported the project.”

She added, “I interpreted this as a threat as well as a bribe, i.e., that if I didn’t support the project, they were going to engage in serious Karl Rove style attacks.”

“I tried to explain to Jim that my job was to represent the best interests of citizens of Davis, and that although I was extremely sympathetic to the union members’ desire for jobs, our combined wastewater, surface water project costs, water rights purchase and related new infrastructure was still around $300 million, which was very high for a city of our size, and that I felt obligated to pursue less expensive approaches,” she said.

Among Mr. Burchill’s clients are not only the building trade unions who would be involved in the construction of the project, but also Angelo Tsakopoulos himself, who as the owner of the company that owns Conaway Ranch, stands to make huge amounts from the water deal approved back in December of 2010.

The Vanguard was unsuccessful reaching Mr. Burchill, who appeared to duck our call after his assistant informed the Vanguard he was there, but soon thereafter the call immediately went to voicemail and there was never an attempt to return the call.

“I am afraid that this deplorable action by an outside PAC will intimidate many good, brave citizens from going into local Davis politics for a long time to come,” Ms. Greenwald said on the Vanguard.

She fears this is an effort to undo the fiscal savings she has achieved for the city.

“This is all about my attempt to save money on this project, the combined expenses of which were extraordinary for a city of our size,” she said.

“There’s so much money involved that the stakes are very, very high for many, many people. This is big money, huge money. It’s a sign of how huge the project is. It’s a consequence of how expensive the project is.”

Mr. Li was sanguine as to whether the intent was actually to take out Stephen Souza, though he clearly wants that to be the case and acknowledged that that was the effect regardless of the intent.

He would not tell me if there were plans for another, though he did say that I could figure out that they had not spent all of their money.

We now know that the extent of his involvement was two small payments, compared to much larger payments to James Burchill and Mr. Schultz.

We also know it appears that there will not be a second mailer.

Councilmember Stephen Souza deplored the tactic, fearing that this will backfire on him.  He told the Vanguard that the mailer could not have hurt him more if it were intended to do so.

In an email to Sue Greenwald posted on the Vanguard he wrote, “I had absolutely nothing to do with this, nor did I authorize the use of my name by this PAC, nor have I been in communications with them. This mailer was done entirely without my knowledge.”

“I feel violated with you. I don’t want to be affiliated with this mudslinging smut. I will stand by you and say this is not okay. This is not what we can allow Davis politics to become,” he added.

—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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70 Comments

  1. Mr.Toad

    “I am afraid that this deplorable action by an outside PAC will intimidate many good, brave citizens from going into local Davis politics for a long time to come,” Ms. Greenwald said on the Vanguard.”

    As will Sue’s re-election.

    One thing we do know is that a number of decent people have chosen not to run for re-election since Sue was first elected 12 long years ago. Ted Puntillo, Ken Wagstaff and Lamar Heystack come to mind. One look at the tape of Sue berating Ruth and you can see how Sue could take all the fun out of serving.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    Mr. Toad: Puntillo was a horrible councilmember, he rarely did his homework and had a propensity to shoot off his mouth in inappropriate ways. Ken Wagstaff and Lamar Heystek had other reasons for not running again that had nothing to do with Sue Greenwald.

  3. JustSaying

    “He was sanguine as to whether the intent was actually to take out Stephen Souza, though he clearly wants that to be the case and acknowledged that that was the effect regardless of the intent.”

    “He” meaning who? Jon Li? If so, does this make any sense? He “consulted” on the mailer, and tricked his employer into some sophisticated, convoluted scheme damn Stephen with support for him in a couple phone calls? Does this turn the suspected perpetrator speculation toward Sue since the “actual intent” is to take out the major supporter of the water project? “Sanguine as to the intent?” Huh?

  4. David M. Greenwald

    When I spoke to Jon Li, he was uncharacteristically downplaying his role. Now we know it was relatively minor anyway. The basic answer is I don’t know. He wouldn’t admit that the intent was to take down Souza, only that this was clearly the effect.

  5. Dr. Wu

    [quote]Mr. Toad: Puntillo was a horrible councilmember, he rarely did his homework and had a propensity to shoot off his mouth in inappropriate ways. Ken Wagstaff and Lamar Heystek had other reasons for not running again that had nothing to do with Sue Greenwald.[/quote]

    Running for City Council and staying on City Council is a huge amount of work for little remuneration.

    Blaming Sue for the fact that many people only serve one term is silly.

    Clearly there is an organized effort to get rid of Sue. Is the fact that she has consistently opposed policies that would benefit developers and union members related?

  6. Mr.Toad

    People have lots of reasons for the things they do. Have you asked any of these people about working with Sue?
    I have, and, while they didn’t come right out and say it you could see it in their body language. Their answers also varied from the cautious to the profane. Go ahead and ask they David.

    As for Ted Puntillo being a “terrible councilmember” that is not the point although I challenge you to give examples. Puntillo as councilmember worked to bring Target and Trader Joe’s to town. That’s more than you can say for Sue. Sometimes voting right is the most important thing.

    I know Puntillo fairly well and I have much respect for him and his dedication to Veterans Services helping the men and women of this area and California who have come back from war often times worse for wear. In fact I look forward to seeing him at Memorial Day services next Monday. I don’t remember seeing you there last year David. Did I miss you somehow?

  7. David M. Greenwald

    I find it illuminating that your examples of Mr. Puntillo’s work are mainly outside of the area of council, where I think many will agree he has served the community well.

    Mr. Puntillo is probably as much reason there is a Davis Vanguard as any. The night he bellowed out from the dais that he did not want police officers looking over their shoulders wondering if someone would be evaluating their work and rather using their instincts, was the moment I realized that Davis was not the progressive community that I thought it was.

    You won’t see me there this year either.

    However, this is not an article on Ted Puntillo and future discussions of him should be moved to the bulletin board as off-topic.

  8. Mr.Toad

    Wu said “Blaming Sue for the fact that many people only serve one term is silly.”

    No, its not its part of an overall calculation. The person asks himself do I really want to suffer  working with that insufferable person who sucks all the energy out and throws up obstacles to everything I try to get done. They don’t get paid and then they have to suffer Sue.

    Forgetaboutit.

    I remember seeing Dan Wolk at the Farmers Market shortly after he got appointed to the council. Sue was talking his ear off for almost an hour. Dan, as always, was too polite and couldn’t get away. I teased him about it later. “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it,” I childed him. Of course he knew better than to respond to my provocation. He just smiled.

    One person I know is probably going to vote for Sue. This is someone who worked with Sue on a city task force many years ago, but, told me he doesn’t ever want to talk to Sue.

    I’m still hopeful he won’t vote for her. I told him “If you wouldn’t want to talk to her why would you want to make someone else work with her?

    He responded “Yeah, you’re right about that.”

  9. JustSaying

    “The night he bellowed out from the dais that he did not want police officers looking over their shoulders wondering if someone would be evaluating their work and rather using their instincts, was the moment I realized that Davis was not the progressive community that I thought it was.”

    It doesn’t take much to set you off, does it? Good thing you channeled your feelings into something productive like development of the Vanguard instead of signing up for anger management classes.

    Back on topic: “Among Mr. Burchill’s clients are not only the building trade unions who would be involved in the construction of the project, but also Angelo Tsakopoulos himself….” So, this association implicates Tsakopoulos as well as Jon Li and the unions? Wasn’t it revealed earlier that Judge Maguire also is “among Mr. Burchill’s clients”? Also guilty by association? Do you have a complete list of Burchill’s clients? Any evidence of donor overlap?

  10. David M. Greenwald

    I considered that more background information than implication info. There is no evidence that Tsakopoulos was behind this and if they were, it would have been far more substantial than this overpaid piece of mail.

    For those interested, the fire piece we produced in 2010 was created and distributed for less than half of the cost of this.

  11. JustSaying

    Goodbye and good riddance to the Committee in Support of Stephen Souza and in Opposition to Sue Greenwald. It’ll be interesting to see if their effort and expense really did backfire, if we ever figure out what that means in this case.

  12. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]When I spoke to Jon Li, he was uncharacteristically downplaying his role. Now we know it was relatively minor anyway. [/quote]

    I’m not quite sure how you come to that conclusion, that Jon Li’s role was “minor”. For all we know Li could have given them the idea to start with in a phone call. I don’t think we really know what his role was, do we?

    [quote]“He” meaning who? Jon Li? If so, does this make any sense? He “consulted” on the mailer, and tricked his employer into some sophisticated, convoluted scheme damn Stephen with support for him in a couple phone calls? Does this turn the suspected perpetrator speculation toward Sue since the “actual intent” is to take out the major supporter of the water project? “Sanguine as to the intent?” Huh?[/quote]

    I am having a bit of problem with the logic here, of this having to do w the “water project”. If the idea was to harm both Sue and Stephen, which appears to be the intent and the result, then it removes both a detractor and supporter of the surface water project…

    I, like Matt Williams, am still having problems with Sue’s cryptic statement that she was the only “victim” of this vicious mailer; and I am still having problem’s with Sue’s transformation of this mailer into some sort of nefarious “hit piece” about “punishment” for her refusal to vote for the surface water project (where is the proof that Burchill ever made such a threat?)…

    In my experience, the simplest (and most logical) explanation is usually the right one. This nasty mailer is clearly designed to hurt two incumbent candidates running for office, close in time to the election. The electorate is not likely to be swayed one way or the other by such a mailer…

  13. David M. Greenwald

    “For all we know Li could have given them the idea to start with in a phone call. I don’t think we really know what his role was, do we?”

    We have no reason to believe that he gave them the idea – he didn’t claim that is what happened. He was paid a very small amount compared to any other player in this.

  14. psdavis

    “When I spoke to Jon Li, he was uncharacteristically downplaying his role. Now we know it was relatively minor anyway.” DG

    You mean he was telling the truth? Why the back-handed rhetoric?

    “He wouldn’t admit that the intent was to take down Souza, only that this was clearly the effect.” DG

    He wouldn’t admit? Again, rhetorical games. I’ve heard that you won’t admit to beating your wife. Do you see how that tactic works.

  15. David M. Greenwald

    PSDAVIS: With all due respect, you were not listening to the conversation. Unfortunately, Mr. Li asked that I not record and so I could only paraphrase, but he was making it very clear that he knew more than he was telling me.

  16. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Unfortunately, Mr. Li asked that I not record and so I could only paraphrase, but he was making it very clear that he knew more than he was telling me.[/quote]

    Then how could you possibly know to what extent he was involved?

  17. Rifkin

    TOAD: [i]”In fact I look forward to seeing him at Memorial Day services next Monday.”[/i]

    Feel free to introduce yourself to me. I’ll be there, per usual.

    If anyone is interested in my take on the activities of the unions attacking Sue Greenwald, my column is up today on The Davis Enterprise website ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/opinion/opinion-columns/the-unions-behavior-avaricious/[/url]). My column normally runs on Wednesdays, but my editor decided to run it this week in the Thursday paper. So if you subscribe, it will arrive on your driveway tomorrow.

  18. Rifkin

    [i]”I, like Matt Williams, am still having problems with Sue’s cryptic statement that she was the only “victim” of this vicious mailer …”[/i]

    The implication is that someone, who Sue believes has inside information, told Sue that Souza had foreknowledge of this IE committee and its plans. I spoke with Sue about this but she did not give me any details or tell me whom she had spoken with about this.

    I personally continue to think that Stephen had no idea this was going to happen before the mailer was sent out. I also believe his chances at re-election were destroyed by this mailer. I think Sue will get more votes becasue of the backlash against this kind of dirty politics.

  19. Rifkin

    [b]”If the idea was to harm both Sue and Stephen, which appears to be the intent and the result, then it removes both a detractor and supporter of the surface water project …”[/b]

    Clearly, [i]the intent[/i] was not to harm Stephen. The unions who back him paid for this. The consultant, Burchill, who organized this, is a Souza supporter and campaign donor. The unions want the water projects (in the form Souza has favored). The unions want Souza to win. Burchill wants Souza to win.

    However, the result has been to harm Souza.

    My take is that the unions and Burchill are simply stupid. They are political bullies. They play politics on the state level. They send out attack ads all the time in legislative races, in gubernatorial races and so on. They had no idea that acting like a bully in a Davis City Council race would generate a backlash against their candidate. They thought it would help Souza. The unions and Burchill simply don’t understand the political culture in Davis. …

    It was that same type of stupidity which drove Mr. Parish and his consultant to put out his idiotic mailer. When people do stupid things, don’t assume they had some strange motivation. Keep in mind that most people are not geniuses. [quote] No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. [b]–H. L. Mencken[/b] [/quote]

  20. Siegel

    Rich: I don’t completely disagree with your piece, but it’s odd that the Davis Enterprise would publish it since it resembles a campaign piece for Sue. I kept expecting to find “Paid for by Sue Greenwald for Council” at the bottom.

  21. Matt Williams

    Rifkin said . . .

    [i]”The implication is that someone, who Sue believes has inside information, told Sue that Souza had foreknowledge of this IE committee and its plans. I spoke with Sue about this but she did not give me any details or tell me whom she had spoken with about this.”[/i]

    Rich, what is bewildering to me is that Sue has had plenty of time to vett the inside information and determine its validity, and then come forward with a clarification either validating her implication or repudiating it. Unfortunately, Sue has chosen to hide behind the “No comment” veil. If she had said about you what she said about Stephen would you feel that she was dealing with you honestly and with integrity?

    Rifkin said . . .

    [i]”I personally continue to think that Stephen had no idea this was going to happen before the mailer was sent out.”[/i]

    I concur.

    Rifkin said . . .

    [i]”I also believe his chances at re-election were destroyed by this mailer. I think Sue will get more votes because of the backlash against this kind of dirty politics.”[/i]

    I agree with this too, which is why Sue’s continuing to stand over his fallen body and sticking the knife in his wounds is all the more appalling.

  22. Matt Williams

    Bottom-line, she needs to come forward and either substantiate her claim or withdraw it and apologize to Stephen. That is the honorable thing to do.

  23. Siegel

    Honestly I don’t understand why you are making a big deal out of this Matt? She simply said that she no longer wanted to state that she believed he was an innocent victim but didn’t have enough eveidence to say anything else.

  24. Rifkin

    [i]”… it’s odd that the Davis Enterprise would publish it since it resembles a campaign piece for Sue.”[/i]

    No one tells me what to write or what not to write. I gather the facts on my own and formulate my own opinions and write what I believe is correct. I believe everything I wrote in that column is correct.

    [i]”I don’t [b]completely[/b] disagree with your piece …”[/i]

    Your adverb, completely, makes that a strange double-negative. If there is any part of my column which you think is inaccurate, incorrect or unreasonable, I would appreciate your elucidation.

  25. Siegel

    You asked for it:

    “That upset these unions. They are not used to losing political fights.”

    Unions lose political fights all of the time. Certainly the last five years of state budgets bear that.

    “When the union bosses say jump, every Democrat (who cares about keeping his seat) responds, “How high?!””

    It’s considerably more nuanced than this, there are a number of Democratic members that are not supported by Democrats at all.

    “In 2005, knowing she was chosen by the voters to be the new mayor the following year, the majority on the council moved to deny her that honor. “

    You got the year wrong, it was 2006 following Heystek’s election.

    “The unions would have you believe that Sue Greenwald lacks the proper demeanor to serve on the City Council. Yet notice that since the majority, changed the atmosphere on the council has, as well. Greenwald is still there. Most of the rest left. Apparently it was not Sue’s behavior that was the problem.”

    This is the part I refer to as the campaign piece. As a number of people here have noted, Sue was originally on good behavior, but that has backslid quite a bit. Joe and Rochelle in particularly are clearly starting to lose patience as soon interrupts, talks out of turn, inappropriately interjects, and is unprepared to make comments or formulate a motion. At times she interrogates staffers. Other times she appears to filibuster.

  26. JustSaying

    [quote]“In my experience, the simplest (and most logical) explanation is usually the right one. This nasty mailer is clearly designed to hurt two incumbent candidates running for office, close in time to the election. The electorate is not likely to be swayed one way or the other by such a mailer… “[/quote]I agree with your Theory of Right Explanations, but you haven’t applied it to this situation. The simplest and most logical purpose is to “Support of Stephen Souza and in Opposition to Sue Greenwald,” just as the mailer proclaimed.

    It’s just such a ham-handed effort that it raises suspicions that Stephen was involved in the project–a suspicion that’s been thoroughly reinforced by Sue’s words in the [i]Vanguard[/i] and her “no comment” actions since David pulled off her mysterious, unsupportable charges.

  27. psdavis

    “My take is that the unions and Burchill are simply stupid.”

    Rifkin: Sue disagrees with you.

    “Bottom-line, she needs to come forward and either substantiate her claim or withdraw it and apologize to Stephen. That is the honorable thing to do.”

    Matt: She’s already retracted her claim several times (see my posts on the last thread).

  28. JustSaying

    Brian: “Rich: I don’t completely disagree with your piece, but it’s odd that the Davis Enterprise would publish it since it resembles a campaign piece for Sue. I kept expecting to find ‘Paid for by Sue Greenwald for Council’ at the bottom.”

    Brian, you’ve certainly sorted out the “Vote for Sue” feel about the column, but it’s actually a pretty accurate accounting of the history of the time. Argue if you want about what how appropriate Sue’s conduct was, but you have to agree that she was serving with a passel of assholes. Sue likes Rich’s write-up; she’s already posted a response with additional accomplishments.

    Since she’s apparently boycotting the Vanguard’s video interviews, columns and comments, it’s nice she’s found an outlet for her campaigning. The anonymous sources have found a new home:

    “Just before the new city manager arrived, I learned from community water professionals that it was likely Davis, not West Sacramento, that had withdrawn.”

    I’m just disappointed that her claim (Stephen no longer should be considered a victim)!isn’t the first thing she tried to clarify when she started commenting again.

  29. Mr.Toad

    Rifkin said “No one tells me what to write or what not to write. I gather the facts on my own and formulate my own opinions and write what I believe is correct. ”

    No one has to tell you. McNaughton papers are notoriously anti-union. Its just like working for Steve Forbes and being pro-flat tax or working for Roger Ailes and being anti-democrat pro-Republican. The hiring process is when the vetting gets done. You don’t need a treat from your boss at the Enterprise or to wait for a sic em command they already know your position on unions all need to they do is supply you the ink and the paper. I haven’t seen your column but people here have described it as a thinly veiled (my addition) campaign piece for Sue who the paper endorsed. Not going to be ruffling Foy’s feathers with that position.

  30. psdavis

    “PSDAVIS: With all due respect, you were not listening to the conversation. Unfortunately, Mr. Li asked that I not record and so I could only paraphrase, but he was making it very clear that he knew more than he was telling me.” DG

    Fair enough. What you probably meant to say was “Mr. Li declined to comment on whether or not the intent was to take down Souza.”

  31. Sue Greenwald

    [quote]My take is that the unions and Burchill are simply stupid. They are political bullies. They play politics on the state level. They send out attack ads all the time in legislative races, in gubernatorial races and so on. They had no idea that acting like a bully in a Davis City Council race would generate a backlash against their candidate. They thought it would help Souza. The unions and Burchill simply don’t understand the political culture in Davis. …[b] Rich Rifkin[/b] [/quote]I just don’t agree with this at all, nor do I believe that a seasoned political consultant like Jim Burchill would allow Jon Li to formulate his strategy. This makes no sense to me.

    My theory, which I strongly adhere to, is that a deal was cut to help one or more of the other candidates, and that one or more of the consultants were pursuing their own agendas rather than that of their clients who paid for the piece.

    If someone can show me a series of attack pieces in which the name of the candidate they are really trying to help printed on the attack piece, then I might change my mind.

    Until then, I do not believe that the seasoned, smart, successful consultants that masterminded this were acting stupidly.

    And I believe that Jon Li is merely the fall guy.

  32. Sue Greenwald

    P.S.– I also don’t believe that the intended beneficiary candidates would have known about this, if my theory is correct. I would expect it to have been engineered by someone supporting them.

  33. Mr.Toad

    “My theory, which I strongly adhere to, is that a deal was cut to help one or more of the other candidates, and that one or more of the consultants were pursuing their own agendas rather than that of their clients who paid for the piece. “

    “Paranoia strikes deep into your heart it will creep.”

    Sue, you think it was Dan, Brett, Steve or Lucas? Maybe it was their surrogates; Craig, Mike, Kari or Dick? Maybe we are totally off the trail. Could it be Joe or Rochelle? Why not Ruth herself?

    Yes, the only way to be sure your vote doesn’t go to someone involved with this tawdry mailer is to bullet vote for Sue. Just ask her she will be more than happy to share her “Theory” with you. Of course since you are bullet voting you will have extra votes so you could write in Nixon.

  34. JustSaying

    [quote]“My theory, which I strongly adhere to, is that a deal was cut to help one or more of the other candidates….”[/quote]Welcome back, Sue. There’s been lots of discussion about this mailer since you told David “no comment.” Is your theory the same claim that David pulled from the Vanguard last week? If not, would you please end all the speculation and write it in clear words, but ones that David won’t feel compelled to remove?

    Do you know which of the other candidates are the ones intended to benefit?

    A related question: when you said there’s only one victim (after you’d suggested both you and Stephen were victims) mean that you’d decided that he was involved in the unions’ mailer?

    How can you think Jon Li Is “merely the fall guy” when David claimed he had private emails implicating him and reported his weird interview with Jon in which he admitted involvement, but had trouble identifying the intent of the mailing.

  35. Don Shor

    Mr. Toad: [i]”Sue, you think it was Dan, Brett, Steve or Lucas? Maybe it was their surrogates; Craig, Mike, Kari or Dick? Maybe we are totally off the trail. Could it be Joe or Rochelle? Why not Ruth herself?”[/i]

    None of the above. The consultants are listed above. Somehow they persuaded the unions to provide a large amount of money for this. They probably thought they were being very cleverly strategic. It supposedly would benefit some or any of the other four candidates, none of whom have to have any involvement at all. This is the way it goes in the age of independent expenditures.
    By the way, in a lot of communities, this would probably have worked. Without something like the Vanguard, there is no sharing of information and distortions can succeed. In Dixon or Woodland, this might have been effective. This was old-school political thinking, reminiscent of the distorted slate-mailers we get in Solano County around most elections. But blogs and social media can be used to call them out and expose them. So much as Sue might not like all the Vanguard posts on this topic, it would be a lot worse without an active local blog devoted to these issues.

  36. David M. Greenwald

    “What you probably meant to say was “Mr. Li declined to comment on whether or not the intent was to take down Souza.””

    No, his answer to the effect of, “What I can tell you is that I don’t know whether the intent was to take him down. But regardless of the intent, it had that effect.” Those aren’t his exact words, but that’s pretty close to what he said.

  37. JustSaying

    It sounds odd that Jon Li joined in an enterprise for which he still doesn’t know the purpose. Actually, it seems flat out unbelievable. I can’t imagine he didn’t know whether the project was supporting Stephen while dissing Sue or trying to undermine both with some weird conspiracy (or, a Sue claims, an attempt to support one or more of the other three candidates)>

    Who cares what Jon thinks the “effect” is; everyone’s got an opinion. Why don’t you invite him to write a column about how he got caught up in this for a few pieces of silver, providing technical advice on a project about which he now claims involvement and ignorance.

    Did he ask you how you got his private emails?

    Then, there’s Don’s conspiracy theory that suggests the consultant fooled the unions into funding a campaign that purposely works against their own interests. That sort of trickery would end a consultant’s career.

    The new “age of independent expenditures” doesn’t have such an absence of coordination that campaigns would be tripping over each other in such an ineffective way.

  38. Don Shor

    It’s not a “conspiracy theory,” JustSaying. And it wouldn’t end the consultant’s career. Nothing does. I think you give them far too much credit for thinking this through. It blew back in their faces. Why do you think they are refunding the rest of their money and closing up? As I said: there are places where this would have worked just fine.

  39. Rifkin

    Rich: [i] “That upset these unions. They are not used to losing political fights.” [/i]

    Brian: [b]Unions lose political fights all of the time. Certainly the last five years of state budgets bear that. [/b]

    I don’t understand this comment. Yes, the state budget has been reduced. But not because the unions lost any political fights. The CCPOA members are still (by far) the highest paid prison guards in the United States. The state workers in California still make more in total comp than their equals make in all other states. The reductions in union jobs at the state level are only due to the collapse of the economy and the hence the collapse of the revenues paid in by everyone else.

    If real pension reform goes through–so far, no Democrats have signed on to Gov. Brown’s plan; all the Republicans endorsed it–then that would be a loss from the perspective of the unions. I don’t see that happening, though, unless the voters make the call by an initiative.

    Rich: [i]”When the union bosses say jump, every Democrat (who cares about keeping his seat) responds, “How high?!”” [/i]

    Brian: [b]It’s considerably more nuanced than this, there are a number of Democratic members that are not supported [u]by Democrats[/u] at all.[/b]

    Did you mean to say there are Democratic members ‘not supported [u]by unions[/u] at all’? If so, name him (or her). I looked up on Cal-Access the Dems in the legislature; and everyone took in large amounts of union money and money from the state Democratic Party, which itself is largely funded by unions (public and so-called private). The only major financier of the Democrats I saw on Cal-Access other than the unions and individual givers (such as celebrity actors) are attorneys, though they mostly don’t give in bundles, but give as firms or as individuals.

    Rich: [i]”In 2005, knowing she was chosen by the voters to be the new mayor the following year, the majority on the council moved to deny her that honor. ” [/i]

    Brian: [b]You got the year wrong, it was 2006 following Heystek’s election. [/b]

    You misread my quote, Brian. Read it again. I said ‘she was chosen by the voters to be the new mayor the following year.’ The following year was 2006. It was in 2005 that the others plotted to deny her the mayor’s seat. Here is what Bob Dunning wrote in the June 14, 2005 edition of The Davis Enterprise: [quote] Now that the City Council majority’s dirty little plan to deny Sue Greenwald the rightful spoils of her electoral victory has been exposed for all the world to see, e-mails have been zipping around town faster than Lois Wolk on her way to Sacramento.[/quote] Dunning in that same 2005 column later quotes Ken Wagstaff as saying: “In 15 years, no council has replaced the mayor, and there have been numerous times when the votes were there to do so. The reason is that councils have deferred to the fact that this person got the job by having received the most votes in the previous election, and that the public’s overall judgment might be better than the council’s momentary whim.”

  40. JustSaying

    [quote]“I think you give them far too much credit for thinking this through. It blew back in their faces. Why do you think they are refunding the rest of their money and closing up? As I said: there are places where this would have worked just fine.”[/quote]You may be correct. Don. I just don’t figure “a seasoned political consultant like Jim Burchill”–as Sue, who should know, describes him–would get involved in tricking his paying customers. I wonder, on the other hand, whether you’re giving Davis [u]voters[/u] far too much credit; we’ll see soon.

  41. Rifkin

    In case you still don’t think the unions are the major contributors to the Democrats, this comes from Cal-Access. These are just some of the large donations made this year to the state Democratic Party:

    NAME OF CONTRIBUTORAMOUNT
    UFCW REGION 8 STATES COUNCIL – ISSUE EDUCATION FUND=$100,000.00
    CCPOA INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES COMMITTEE=$100,000.00
    CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION – ISSUES PAC=$100,000.00
    AFSCME=$100,000.00
    SEIU LOCAL 1000 CANDIDATE PAC=$100,000.00
    CALIFORNIA HOSPITALS COMMITTEE ON ISSUES, SPONSORED BY CAHHS=$100,000.00
    POLITICAL ACTION FOR CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES OF THE CALIFORNIA SCHOOL EMPLOYEES – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$98,750.00
    SEIU LOCAL 1000 CANDIDATE PAC=$83,750.00
    POLITICAL ACTION FOR CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES OF THE CALIFORNIA SCHOOL EMPLOYEES – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$83,750.00
    FACULTY FOR OUR UNIVERSITY’S FUTURE, A COMM SPONSORED BY THE CA FACULTY ASSOC.=$67,500.00
    CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION – ISSUES PAC=$65,000.00
    SEIU LOCAL 1000 CANDIDATE PAC=$63,750.00
    STATE BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA PAC=$60,000.00
    CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION – ISSUES PAC=$57,500.00
    STATE BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA PAC=$50,000.00
    PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS IN CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT PECG-PAC=$50,000.00
    CALIFORNIA CABLE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION, NON PROP 34 COMMITTEE=$50,000.00
    FACULTY FOR OUR UNIVERSITY’S FUTURE, A COMM SPONSORED BY THE CA FACULTY ASSOC.=$50,000.00
    CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION – ISSUES PAC=$50,000.00
    CALIFORNIA SCHOOL EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION=$50,000.00
    AFSCME=$50,000.00
    AFSCME=$50,000.00
    AFSCME=$50,000.00
    CALIFORNIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS=$50,000.00
    CALIFORNIA NURSES ASSOCIATION=$50,000.00
    LOS ANGELES COUNTY COUNCIL ON POLITICAL EDUCATION=$50,000.00
    LOS ANGELES COUNTY COUNCIL ON POLITICAL EDUCATION=$50,000.00
    LOS ANGELES COUNTY COUNCIL ON POLITICAL EDUCATION=$50,000.00
    PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS IN CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT PECG-PAC=$50,000.00
    CSLEA PAC=$50,000.00
    CSLEA PAC=$48,750.00
    CSLEA PAC=$48,750.00
    STATE BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA PAC – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$48,750.00
    CALIFORNIA PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS PAC=$48,750.00
    PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS IN CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT PECG-PAC=$48,750.00
    CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION – ISSUES PAC=$45,000.00
    CSLEA PAC=$43,750.00
    PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS IN CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT PECG-PAC=$43,750.00
    STATE BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA PAC – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$43,750.00
    CALIFORNIA PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS PAC=$43,750.00
    CCPOA POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE=$43,750.00
    PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS IN CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT PECG-PAC=$43,750.00
    STATE BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA PAC – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$40,000.00
    CALIFORNIA STATE COUNCIL OF LABORERS PAC=$35,000.00
    CALIFORNIA PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS PAC=$34,202.07
    POLITICAL ACTION FOR CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES OF THE CALIFORNIA SCHOOL EMPLOYEES – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$33,750.00
    CALIFORNIA PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS PAC=$33,750.00
    CA ASSOCIATION OF HIGHWAY PATROLMEN PAC=$33,750.00
    CA ASSOCIATION OF HIGHWAY PATROLMEN PAC=$33,750.00
    CALIFORNIA PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS PAC=$33,750.00
    CDF FIREFIGHTERS SMALL CONTRIBUTOR PAC=$33,750.00
    CDF FIREFIGHTERS SMALL CONTRIBUTOR PAC=$33,750.00
    POLITICAL ACTION FOR CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES OF THE CALIFORNIA SCHOOL EMPLOYEES – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$33,750.00
    CSLEA PAC=$33,750.00
    PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS IN CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT PECG-PAC=$33,750.00
    PEACE OFFICERS RESEARCH ASSOCIATION OF CA PAC=$33,750.00
    PEACE OFFICERS RESEARCH ASSOCIATION OF CA PAC=$33,750.00
    CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF HIGHWAY PATROLMEN=$33,750.00
    CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF HIGHWAY PATROLMEN=$33,750.00
    CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE – CREPAC=$33,750.00
    SEIU – UNITED LONG TERM CARE WORKERS LOCAL 6434 STATE PAC=$33,750.00

  42. Rifkin

    And here are some more:

    CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION – ISSUES PAC=$32,500.00
    AFSCME=$32,500.00
    FACULTY FOR OUR UNIVERSITY’S FUTURE, A COMM SPONSORED BY THE CA FACULTY ASSOC.=$32,500.00
    SEIU LOCAL 1000 CANDIDATE PAC=$32,500.00
    CALIFORNIA PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS PAC=$30,468.46
    SEIU – UNITED LONG TERM CARE WORKERS LOCAL 6434 STATE PAC=$28,750.00
    SEIU LOCAL 1000 CANDIDATE PAC=$27,500.00
    POLITICAL ACTION FOR CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES OF THE CALIFORNIA SCHOOL EMPLOYEES – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$25,000.00
    CALIFORNIA STATE COUNCIL OF LABORERS PAC=$25,000.00
    CALIFORNIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS=$25,000.00
    CALIFORNIA STATE COUNCIL OF LABORERS PAC=$25,000.00
    OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 3 STATEWIDE PAC=$25,000.00
    CALIFORNIA STATE PIPE TRADES COUNCIL – POLITICAL ACTION FUND=$25,000.00
    PLUMBERS & PIPEFITTERS LOCAL 447 – COMMERCIAL ACCOUNT=$25,000.00
    UNITE HERE TIP STATE & LOCAL FUND=$25,000.00
    CALIFORNIA NURSES ASSOCIATION=$25,000.00
    CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION – ISSUES PAC=$25,000.00
    NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CARPENTERS REGIONAL COUNCIL ISSUES PAC=$25,000.00
    STATE BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA PAC=$25,000.00
    INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 12=$25,000.00
    CONSUMER ATTORNEYS INDEPENDENT CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE=$25,000.00
    SOUTHWEST REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS POLITICAL ACTION FUND – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$25,000.00
    FACULTY FOR OUR UNIVERSITY’S FUTURE, A COMM SPONSORED BY THE CA FACULTY ASSOC.=$25,000.00
    PLUMBERS & PIPEFITTERS LOCAL 447 – COMMERCIAL ACCOUNT=$25,000.00
    OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 3 STATEWIDE PAC=$25,000.00
    OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 3 STATEWIDE PAC=$25,000.00
    UNITE HERE TIP STATE & LOCAL FUND=$25,000.00
    CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION – ISSUES PAC=$25,000.00
    PLUMBERS & PIPEFITTERS LOCAL 447 – COMMERCIAL ACCOUNT=$25,000.00
    COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL EDUCATION CALIF. LABOR FED., AFL-CIO=$25,000.00
    CALIFORNIA STATE COUNCIL OF LABORERS PAC=$25,000.00
    POLITICAL ACTION FOR CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES OF THE CALIFORNIA SCHOOL EMPLOYEES – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$25,000.00
    NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CARPENTERS REGIONAL COUNCIL SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$25,000.00
    CALIFORNIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS COPE – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$25,000.00
    STATE BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA PAC – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$25,000.00
    UNITE HERE TIP STATE & LOCAL FUND=$25,000.00
    CALIFORNIA BUILDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION=$25,000.00
    UFCW REGION 8 STATES COUNCIL – ISSUE EDUCATION FUND=$25,000.00
    FACULTY FOR OUR UNIVERSITY’S FUTURE A COMMITTEE SPONSORED BY THE CA FACULTY ASSOC – SMALL CONTRIBUTOR COMMITTEE=$25,000.00
    INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 12=$25,000.00
    OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 3 STATEWIDE PAC=$25,000.00
    SEIU LOCAL 1000 CANDIDATE PAC=$25,000.00
    SEIU – UNITED LONG TERM CARE WORKERS LOCAL 6434 STATE PAC=$25,000.00
    COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL EDUCATION CALIF. LABOR FED., AFL-CIO=$25,000.00

  43. medwoman

    “she did not give me any details or tell me whom she had spoken with about this. “

    Everyone except Rich can quit reading and ignore me.

    Rich,
    Is this sentence grammatically correct as written ?
    I thought that “whom” in this setting could only be used in the following construction:
    ….or tell me to whom she had spoken ….”

  44. Rifkin

    [i]”Is this sentence grammatically correct as written?”[/i]

    I think it is grammatically correct. [b]Whom[/b] serves as the object of the preposition [b]with[/b] in my sentence, even though [b]with[/b] dangles later in the sentence. (Note: Most grammarians today are fine with dangling prepositions.)

    “… she did not … tell me [b]whom[/b] she had spoken [b]with[/b] …”

    Perhaps it would have been clearer, however, if I had used [b]to[/b] in place of [b]with[/b] and then placed [b]to[/b] before [b]whom[/b]:

    “… she did not … tell me [b] to whom[/b] she had spoken …”

    The second usage of [b]she[/b] is the subject of that clause and [b]whom[/b] is the object.

  45. Rifkin

    [i]”You say that like it’s a bad thing. ;-)”[/i]

    Not at all. I was happy to answer the poll. It simply asked “Who is your first choice in the Davis City Council race? For Frerichs press 1, for Greenwald 2 …” etc. (I think the candidates were listed in alphabetical order, which may reduce the Wolk number.) It then asked for second choice and then third choice. I still have not finally decided on all three, but I gave three answers.

  46. psdavis

    Yolo County Democratic Party 2012 Endorsements

    In “local races, [u]the Democrats give the nod to four candidates for three seats[/u] on the Davis City Council: Lucas Frerichs, Sue Greenwald, Stephen Souza and Dan Wolk.”

    Is Brett a Republican?

  47. David M. Greenwald

    He’s either Green or Decline to State. How crazy is it that you endorse four for three. what you are really saying is that you have no opinion on who wins, and didn’t look to see who is the best candidate, rather you want the voters to blindly vote for the party in a local race that has nothing at all to do with the party.

  48. Rifkin

    [i]”Souza has a robocall machine, so that would be my first guess.”[/i]

    For argument’s sake, let’s say it is Stephen. How would it help him to know the results of this kind of a poll two weeks before the election is over?

    If the Vanguard or The Aggie or The Enterprise or The Bee, etc., took this kind of a poll, I’m sure they would release the results to the public and like any poll that would be for reader interest. I concede I’d like to know the results. But if a City Council candidate takes a poll–and I am aware that candidates for higher offices take polls–I don’t understand why that info is useful to him/her or would help him/her win the election.

  49. Rifkin

    Yolo County Republican Party* 2012 Endorsements: In “local races, the Republicans give the nod to Tom Randall Junior for all three seats on the Davis City Council. Tom is against all tax increases, including those not yet proposed.”

    *Just kidding.

  50. medwoman

    Rich

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I did not know that dangling participles had gained acceptance.
    And I am also sure that I am the only one here who cares at all.

  51. Jim Frame

    [quote]And I am also sure that I am the only one here who cares at all.[/quote]

    I’m married to a compulsive editor, and I also do my own share of grammatical gymnastics. I’m more seat-of-the-pants about it, though; I couldn’t have described the technical details of the sentence you highlighted the way that Rifkin did. I think I get it right most of the time, though.

    .

  52. newshoundpm

    People do these sort of election polls at this stage to help them make a decision regarding whether to spend more money on a campaign, or not. I don’t know what the costs of doing such a poll are, and it obviously depends upon how many people are surveyed. Anyone else have some ideas? It can’t be too much, I wouldn’t think, as an alternative use of the funds would obviously be to do a piece of mail. The likely party conducting such a robo-poll would seem to me to be someone who is trying to figure out or confirm who is currently in 3rd and 4th positions, how big the gap is, and whether doing an IE would be a worthwhile expenditure to either protect the 3rd position or to give the person in the 4th position a chance to overtake the person in the 3rd position. I don’t think it is a candidate. What will be interesting is if we see another piece of IE mail hit before the election. That would be an indication that the people who funded the IE don’t believe this race is over yet for the 3rd seat. So, we are back to the Usual Suspects…

  53. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Rich Rifkin: Clearly, the intent was not to harm Stephen.[/quote]

    Even Sue doesn’t seem to agree with you on this one:
    [quote]No one is dumb enough to put their favored candidate’s name on a hit piece. Show me one example. Sue Greenwald[/quote]

  54. JustSaying

    Actually, it’s difficult to know what Sue really thinks since she’s not been very forthcoming since David pulled her true feelings off the [i]Vanguard[/i].

    And, actually, it’s usually obvious which candidate (of the two that are running) is favored in almost all “hit pieces,” assuming this really can qualify as one. When, there’re five running, it might be necessary to point out the favored one in order to get your money’s worth.

    Do you really think that the unions don’t favor Stephen much more than they do Sue?

    There’s no evidence that they intended to kill Stephen’s candidacy by making it look as though he was behind the mailer in order to too him in. Most likely, the unions didn’t anticipate the outpouring of sympathy, followed by Sue’s contention they she was the only victim in the episode.

  55. Rifkin

    [i]”The likely party conducting such a robo-poll would seem to me to be someone who is trying to figure out or confirm who is currently in 3rd and 4th positions, how big the gap is, and whether doing an IE would be a worthwhile expenditure to either protect the 3rd position or to give the person in the 4th position a chance to overtake the person in the 3rd position. I don’t think it is a candidate.”[/i]

    This argument makes sense to me. Thanks, newshoundpm.

    If you are right, and the “likely party” is friendly with Stephen, and, as David said, Souza has a “robo-call machine,” then perhaps he loaned his machine to them. Or maybe there are a lot of these machines around. I would not know. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a “robo-call machine.” In fact, I just learned there is something called a “washing machine.” The more you know …

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