Breaking News: Krovoza Calls For End to Dishonest Attacks

Wolk-flipflop-1aby Joe Krovoza

If you live in the 4th Assembly District, your mailbox has likely been overflowing with a volley of negative attack ads targeting two of my opponents in the race for the State Assembly.  I’m sick of it; we are far better than this.

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.

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.

To be clear, the attack ads have not come directly from my opponents themselves: they are independent expenditures by organizations that support my opponents.

I am pleased no organization supporting my campaign has attacked my opponents.  I am committed to doing everything permitted by law to ensure this continues.  To anyone reading this: be firmly assured that I do not want you to spread negative attacks against my opponents, and I will immediately denounce any such attacks if they occur.

As mayor, I have been steadfast in advancing a culture of open discourse and a tone of respect.  I often repeat that our guide must be policy, not politics.  So too I have directed my campaign.  We have focused solely on spreading my positive message about how I will serve our district in the Assembly.

I do see a dire need for campaign finance reform.  But in the meantime, the best we can do as voters is to be politically engaged and not be duped by the lies coming from special interests on both sides of the political spectrum.  Please vote, and vote based on the facts and our records, not rumor and innuendo.

Thank you.

Joe Krovoza
Mayor, City of Davis
Candidate, State Assembly District 4

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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24 Comments

  1. Good Government

    I also agree with everything Joe said. But as long as people who are being ignored by the IE’s and have no shot of winning are making statements, let’s hear from Dustin Call as well! This is a classic scenario of a candidate trying to be relevant by entering a conversation he has nothing to do with.

    1. South of Davis

      Good Government wrote:

      > let’s hear from Dustin Call as well! This is a classic scenario of a candidate
      > trying to be relevant by entering a conversation he has nothing to do with

      I would love to know who pushed (and paid for) Dustin to run (not many part time UCD students just decide to take what little time and money they have and spend the time and money on a one in a million shot running for the California State Assembly).

      I’ve heard that both Dodd’s people wanted another Republican in the race and the Democrats are hoping that two Republicans (and a former Republican) can split the GOP vote so we end up with two Democrats on the “top two” ballot in November.

      P.S. I’m reading the book “The Great Mayor” about La Guardia (the guy the airport is named after) and got to a part where they were talking about negative campaigning (by both Republicans and Democrats) around the turn of the century in NY and laughed when I remembered that last week someone on this blog was saying that it was Karl Rove that brought us “negative” campaigning…

      1. Don Shor

        I was referring to the tactics used by Lee Atwater and refined by Karl Rove. I certainly didn’t suggest that dirty tricks and negative campaigning were unique to them. But Atwater is credited, along with Karl Rove, with developing the modern, systematic campaign strategies that have become pervasive in our political arena. The Southern Strategy using veiled racist phrases was Atwater’s; plus, the early and persistent use of character attacks, and relentless use of distortions and misdirection. Rove’s comments about Hilary Clinton this week are good examples, as is his followup when called on it. And a very important part: whatever your weakness is, pin it on your opponent first.

        1. wdf1

          I acknowledge that Atwater and Rove have added their own style, but Nixon used the “Southern Strategy” in 1968, using coded phrases of the day, like “law and order” and “states’ rights”.

          Don Shor: Rove’s comments about Hilary Clinton this week are good examples, as is his followup when called on it.

          It’s hard for me to understand how this particular attack of Rove’s could be successful, but time will tell.

          1. Davis Progressive

            it’s hard for me to understand how the dodd-wolk attacks will work, but these groups are putting three quarters of a million behind them, so maybe i’m the dumb one.

          2. wdf1

            It’s possible that such attack pieces are not really meant for you or me or anyone else who seriously tries to keep current on politics.

          3. South of Davis

            wdf1 wrote:

            > It’s possible that such attack pieces are not really
            > meant for you or me or anyone else who seriously
            > tries to keep current on politics.

            The glossy mailers are NEVER meant for the (few) people interested in (that follow) politics. They are targeted to the (large number of) “low information voters”…

        2. South of Davis

          Don wrote:

          > Atwater is credited, along with Karl Rove, with developing the modern,
          > systematic campaign strategies that have become pervasive in our
          > political arena

          I don’t want to play the partisan game that many posting here (Hi Frankly) play and list all the sleazy (and many times illegal) things that Democrat campaigns (including many I personally worked on) have done that will put Lee Atwater and Karl Rove to shame. My point is that (as a big history buff) going back to the early days of CA in the mid 1800’s or the days of Tammany Hall in the late 1800’s politics has been FULL of dirty tricks, character assassination and negative campaigning from BOTH sides. If you tune in to Fox News (or read conservative blogs) you will only hear about the Democrats “dirty tricks” while CNBC (and liberal blogs) will only report the slimy stuff the GOP does…

        3. Rich RifkinWDE 73

          “But Atwater is credited, along with Karl Rove, with developing the modern, systematic campaign strategies that have become pervasive in our political arena.”

          Don, you may be right. However, that has nothing to do with what made Lee Atwater’s name and reputation. It was all about race and hints of racism for him and sending the implicit message to poor white voters in the South that the GOP was for them and the Democratic Party was for blacks. There is a famous quote by Atwater, in which he described how to be a racist without using the N-word:

          You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

          Supposedly, on his death bed, Atwater said he was sorry for his racist tactics. But he died so young, that is pretty much all he was known for.

          Maybe Karl Rove followed in his footsteps on that. However, I have never heard anything attributed to Rove remotely like those things said of Atwater.

          In terms of negative campaigning, attack ads, dirty tricks and so on, those go all the way back to Thomas Jefferson’s campaign in 1800, including his bringing to light the Mariah Reynolds affair (which tarred the reputation of Alexander Hamilton, who was the de facto leader of the Federalists, even though Jefferson’s main opponent* was John Adams).

          Negative campaigning grew worse and worse throughout the 19th century. Its low point may have come in 1888. Grover Cleveland was president and running for a second term (which he lost). There were all sorts of shenanigans in that race, but the dirtiest was this: Republicans famously paid around 750 young boys to march around the White House for a couple hours chanting, “Ma, Ma, who’s my Pa? He’s in the White House, ha, ha, ha!” They did this after they exposed the fact that Cleveland had an illegitimate child.

          In the Progressive Era, however, negative campaigning declined (though it did not go away). It kept declining up until WW2. That was probably the least dirty era of politics in U.S. history. But since then it slowly returned.

          1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

            *In the early days of the Constitution, VP candidates did not run on a ticket with presidential candidates. The first place finisher became president and the second place finisher became VP. That is how Jefferson, who loathed Adams, became the VP in 1797.

            In 1800, the Democratic-Republican Party, which was led by Jefferson, nominated Jefferson for president and Aaron Burr for vice president. In the Electoral College, Jefferson and Burr, who ran together, had the exact same number of supporters. That could have meant that the president would have to be decided by Congress. Jefferson feared that Burr, who was a horrible human being, might concoct a scheme with Adams to make Burr the president. However, a deal was reached a day or two before the EC votes were cast, and one withheld his vote for Burr, making Jefferson the president and Burr the VP (until he killed Hamilton).

        4. Rich RifkinWDE 73

          One of the dirtiest races in the newly dirty post-War era was the 1950 U.S. Senate contest in California between Richard Nixon and the actress, Helen Gahagan Dougas (who was married to Melvyn Douglas, but sleeping with Lyndon Baines Johnson). The Douglas campaign did all sorts of minor dirty tricks against Nixon. But all of those are forgotten. What everyone remembers is that Nixon, whose name was made on the House UnAmerican Activities Committee as an anti-Communists, called her “the Pink Lady,” for her supposed softness on Communists. In reality, Nixon never called her that–at least not publicly. It was the Los Angeles Daily News. But that newspaper did not invent the term for Mrs. Douglas. It was the term put on her by the outgoing, Democratic U.S. Senator Sheridan Downey, who told a reporter during the primary to replace him that she was, if not a Red, then decidedly Pink.

          I must say that, while I loathe Richard Nixon as much as anyone, his reputation for dirty tricks was never really deserved. He was pretty much in line with what his contemporaries were doing, and more often than not the tricks were played on him. However, after the Daily News called Douglas “the Pink Lady,” the (overwhelmingly) liberal and sympathetic press turned on Nixon and portrayed him as Tricky Dick. They reported a lot of small stuff Republicans did, but never anything done to him. And that shaped the public’s imagination for decades.

          One of the best tricks pulled on Nixon was this:

          “In 1962 Nixon was touring the Chinatown section of Los Angeles as a gubernatorial candidate. Tuck arranged for Chinese-speaking residents of the area to greet him with signs that said ‘Welcome Nixon’ in English at the top, but at the bottom said “What about the Hughes Loan?” in Chinese characters. The Hughes loan referred to a highly suspect loan that the billionaire Howard Hughes had given to Nixon’s brother Donald. Nixon, of course, didn’t know what the signs said, so he waved happily at the sign-bearers while they all laughed back at him.”

          1. South of Davis

            Rich wrote:

            “In 1962 Nixon was touring the Chinatown section of Los Angeles as a gubernatorial candidate. Tuck arranged for Chinese-speaking residents of the area to greet him with signs that said ‘Welcome Nixon’ in English at the top, but at the bottom said “What about the Hughes Loan?”

            My favorite Nixon photo that shows how “business is done” in California politics is on the link below:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Harvey_Hancock_at_Bohemian_Grove_1967.jpeg

            Today with the “other” party in power we have the same “meetings” with the Governor and high ranking Washington officials but rather than a “Nuclear Power Guy” there is a “Green Energy Exec.” and rather than an “Oil Company Boss” there is a “Union Boss”…

          2. shane

            And then there was the incident of the whistle-stop speeches that Nixon would make while on a train. One time Dick Tuck dressed up as one of the conductors and flag-signaled the engineer to leave the station at the beginning of one of Nixon’s speeches. Classic. These were of course relatively harmless pranks compared to the nativism, racism, and homophobism exemplified by Karl Rove and Lee Atwater.

  2. tj

    I wonder if all the Union money going into glossy mailers is meant to resurrect the unions as more relevant and powerful than they have been in recent years with declining membership.

    1. South of Davis

      tj wrote:

      > I wonder if all the Union money going into glossy mailers is meant to
      > resurrect the unions as more relevant and powerful than they have
      > been in recent years with declining membership.

      Most mailers are paid for by PUBLIC unions that have NOT had declining membership (or declining pay and benefits).

      I tried to find the growth of PUBLIC unions in CA, but all I found (after my 20 second time limit) was the quote below:

      “As private-sector unions have withered, public-sector unions have grown dramatically. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2009, for the first time ever, more public-sector employees (7.9 million) than private-sector employees (7.4 million) belonged to unions. Today, unionized workers are more likely to be teachers, librarians, trash collectors, policemen, or firefighters than they are to be carpenters, electricians, plumbers, auto workers, or coal miners.”

      1. wdf1

        SoD: Most mailers are paid for by PUBLIC unions that have NOT had declining membership (or declining pay and benefits).

        In recent years public sector union membership has declined slightly, private sector membership has risen.

        NY Times, 1/25/2014:

        The nation’s union membership held steady at 11.3 percent last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, but losses among state and government workers suggest an ominous trend for the future of organized labor. Although the rate of membership didn’t budge, the overall number of members grew slightly, rising about 162,000 to nearly 14.5 million. Unions added about 282,000 new members in the private sector, but that was partly offset by the loss of 118,000 members in the public sector, where budget pressures have meant layoffs and hiring freezes. In Wisconsin, for instance, where Republican lawmakers have moved to limit union bargaining rights, union membership in the public sector fell to just 37.6 percent in 2013, from 53.4 percent in 2011. New York continued to have the highest union membership rate at 24.4 percent, while North Carolina had the lowest rate at 3 percent. source

        1. South of Davis

          wdf1 wrote:

          > In recent years public sector union membership has declined
          > slightly, private sector membership has risen.

          Private sector membership has not increased over YEARS, quoting a little time period is like the right wingers that say “there can’t be global warming since it is warmer than last month”.

          The graph below shows all everyone needs to know about private sector unions:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Union_membership_in_us_1930-2010.png

          The BLS says:

          State union membership levels depend on both the employment level and union
          membership rate. The largest numbers of union members lived in California
          (2.4 million)

  3. Good Government

    I’m sorry but, upon re-reading this letter, I find it hypocritical on many levels. I’d encourage everyone to speak with the other city councilmembers – all of whom have endorsed Dan – to see how much “respect” Joe has fostered as mayor. And when I went to a forum in Winters not too long ago, you could hear audible gasps in the audience when Joe attacked Dan, and Dan’s mother, not on policy grounds mind you, but just because she is his mom. This letter is a poorly planned, “I’m the good guy and not involved in any of this so vote for me instead.” Behind the scenes there is a whole different side of him.

    1. Davis Progressive

      you’ve been pretty consistently anti-Krovoza. that said, “I have been steadfast in advancing a culture of open discourse and a tone of respect. ” for the most part is accurate but there are some notable exceptions during the last nearly four years.

      “This letter is a poorly planned, “I’m the good guy and not involved in any of this so vote for me instead.” Behind the scenes there is a whole different side of him.”

      maybe so, but that doesn’t make it poorly planned.

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