Both Campaigns Cry Foul, As IE’s Bring Distorted Negative Attacks

The Vanguard received a screen shot of a Dan Wolk mailer that asks, Who’s Opposing Dan Wolk, and lists off the villains – Big Oil, Insurance, Chemical, and Pharmaceutical companies and, of course, the ultra-villains, the Koch brothers.

Never mind that the Koch brothers only donated $6500 to a PAC involved in this race back in May 2013, before Dan Wolk was in the race and long before the FairPAC got involved.


In their message, “Together they’ve spent nearly $500,000 attacking Dan and supporting his opponents in the mail…” The Vanguard fact checked this monetary claim and it proved factual.


In fact, more than $1 million in Independent Expenditures have come into the race. A check at Cal-Access, the state website  on campaign financial information, revealed both sides have been pouring in tremendous amounts of money.

The Opportunity PAC, made up of various unions, which has been criticized by the Vanguard for making false attacks against Bill Dodd, has spent nearly $300,000 in opposition to Bill Dodd. It has another $185,000 in support of Dan Wolk.

The FairPAC, made up of conservative-leaning organizations, has expended $182,500 in support of Bill Dodd and another $172,500 in opposition to Dan Wolk.

All told, Dan Wolk’s campaign is correct when they state that nearly than $500,000 have gone against Dan Wolk, with nearly $350,000 going in support of Bill Dodd while $172,500 has gone against Dan Wolk.

However, the other side is actually greater. Over $600,000 has gone against Bill Dodd, with $333,500 going to Dan Wolk and another nearly $300,000 going against Bill Dodd.

The Wolk campaign draws some sort of distinction between the groups.

“But I do believe it is critically important to look behind these groups and follow their money and their motivations,” the mayor pro tem added. “Those supporting me are funded by teachers, nurses and firefighters. The PACs attacking me, and supporting my opponent, are funded by big oil, big tobacco, the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry and other special interests. Big tobacco doesn’t like my effort to keep e-cigarettes away from children. Big oil doesn’t like my support for a ban on fracking. It’s up to the voters to decide which side best represents them.”

However, both sides are engaging in distorted political attacks rather than addressing the critical issues facing the Assembly District.

The Opportunity PAC has tripled down on their false attacks.

Dodd-Tax-1b Dodd-Tax-1a

Dodd-Bridge-2a Dodd-Bridge-2b

Dodd-Bridge-3b Dodd-Bridge-3c


The Opportunity PAC has continued to attack Bill Dodd for the Caltrans Bay Bridge error. The Vanguard debunked these claims last weekend.

As Steve Heminger, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission told the Vanguard on Friday, “Bill Dodd did not pick (the bolts) and MTC didn’t pick them. The bolt specification was developed by CalTrans and issued by CalTrans.”

And, while both Mr. Heminger and Bill Dodd acknowledged that Bill Dodd went to China, the bolts themselves were manufactured not in China but in Ohio.

“The connection is pretty wild, I think,” Bill Dodd told the Vanguard. “This one is so far and away above my pay grade, it’s almost even comical that there’s even a connection.”

Meanwhile, they have also continued the pay raise attack. Despite multiple publications including the Vanguard pointing out, as the Napa paper reported, “The pay raises are mandated by Napa County ordinance, which ties the supervisors’ salaries to a percentage of Napa County Superior Court judges’ pay. Superior Court judges statewide are getting the same 1.4 percent pay raise, increasing their salaries from $178,789 annually to $181,292.”

Meanwhile, Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza continues to stay out of the fray.

“My positive, solution-oriented message resonates with people throughout the district, especially those who are tired of business-as-usual party politics,” Mr. Krovoza told campaign supporters in an email on Wednesday. “Special interests have spent nearly $1 million to support other candidates in my race.  By contrast, I have made a commitment not to issue any negative ads attacking my opponents, and I have demanded that my supporters stay positive as well.  I’m proud that our grassroots campaign is powered by people.”

In his letter to the Vanguard he stated, “There are plenty of policy decisions about which I disagree with my opponents, but the topics of these recent attacks are baseless and dishonest.  I appreciate that these lies have been thoroughly debunked by local press.”

The mayor would add, “Such attacks undermine meaningful political discourse at the time we need it most.  California faces great challenges as it climbs its way out of a devastating recession and grapples with a drought for which our state is inadequately prepared.  The debate should focus on solving problems, not on bickering about spurious attacks.”

 —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. SODA

    As a campaign volunteer on a couple of campaigns this time around, I am also disheartened at the amounts of monies spent in this way. The effort and commitment a $50 or $100 donation takes is significant and to make them total $100K+ is remarkable on the part of a grassroots campaign and its supporters. For an out of area PAC to spend multiples of this kind of money so apparently cavalierly and inaccurately is truly sad……

  2. The Centaur

    Completely agree SODA. I was going to vote for Wolk, like his mother, but have changed my mind to vote for Krovoza. He’s running a clean campaign. Like his focus and the job he has done as Mayor.

  3. Good Government

    Is there any evidence Dan himself has not “run a clean campaign”? Groups supporting him have thrown mud, but Dan himself has kept it completely positive, to my knowledge.

  4. tj

    This mailer is the worst one because it accuses his “opponents” – plural – of being supported by the right wing.
    Krovoza should NOT have been included. This mailer is very misleading.

    If Dan were running a clean campaign, he would have contacted the PAC pdq, long ago, and told them to stop!

    While the unions are spending all this money, are they really doing much for their members? SEIU has fallen down on the job in recent years, at least in Yolo County.

    1. The Centaur

      Dan isn’t running a clean campaign. He is relying on the PACs to do his dirty work. He sucked up to the unions for the past year. And he is hoping they will come through and defeat Dodd which he would not be able to do alone. So he gave a mealy-mouthed apology pointing out his PACs are supported by the very firefighters who have nearly bankrupted his own city. A disgrace.

    2. Good Government

      He could have meant other opponents. Dustin Call has had IEs supporting him, too. And before you say, “but Dustin doesn’t have a chance to win!” I’ll tll you that Krovozo doesn’t have a chance either!

  5. Good Government

    Krovoza is a non-factor in this race. Period. Only Davis-centric people think he is even relevant. It’s not a god sign for him that he’s being 100% ignored by the PACs. They all did polls and, believe me, they would be going after him if they thought he was at all a threat to win. He tried to get every one of those endorsements, too. Teachers, SEIU, AFSCME, and even the hated Firefighters. He wishes he had their support, but because he doesn’t have it, he gets to stand on the sidelines and say “play nice!”.

    1. Davis Progressive

      maybe the pacs are going after krovoza because he’s not a threat if he wins, whereas they see dodd as a republican-lite and wolk as being in bed with the unions. when’s david going to blast him for the firefighters money after he sucked up to them up and down?

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