Yesterday evening, the Vanguard was surprised to receive a message from Dan Wolk with the title, “Tell the Koch Brother’s: It’s On!”
The message stated, “We knew it was coming. And now it’s time to fight back.”
Mr. Wolk states, “The Koch brothers and other right-wing conservative special interests have launched their negative attacks, trying to defeat me by distorting my record and using misleading information.”
He adds, “These opponents are well funded and aggressive. They are attacking me because they know I will go to Sacramento to fight for middle-class families and women’s rights — taking on their right-wing agenda. And they don’t expect that I will be able to match them in the big money game.”
We asked the Wolk Campaign to explain their communication and were told, “There’s a negative IE against Dan (Wolk) put out by FAIRPAC. FAIRPAC is funded by the Koch Industries among other ultra-right-wing interests.”
The documentation shows that a group called “FairPAC Independent Expenditure Committee, Sponsored by the Civil Justice Association of California” has funded, on May 12, a $96,000 television ad campaign against Dan Wolk.
The claim by the Wolk Campaign, however, appears to be mostly political theater. FairPAC is indeed funded by ultra-right-wing industries, but according to Cal-Access just $6800 of their money came from the Koch Industries, and that was back in May 2013, well before this effort against Dan Wolk.
In their filings in the opposition to Dan Wolk, FairPAC appears to show themselves receiving $150,000 from a California Real Estate IE in Los Angeles and another $100,000 from the Farmers Group also based in Los Angeles.
Moreover, it seems a bit unseemly for the Wolk campaign to be crying foul – even given the political nature of such pleas which are rooted in the desire to raise money.
As the Vanguard showed last week, the Opportunity PAC made up of labor groups is vowing to pump half a million into this assembly race.
The hits against Bill Dodd continue with yet another large mailer aimed largely at the same issue.
It’s a campaign that has received heavy criticism in the Vanguard and other publications. This morning, the Enterprise nails the Opportunity PAC again for reaching “a new low” for its “flagrant disregard for the truth.”
Writes the Enterprise, “If it’s any consolation to Dodd, he’s not alone. Opportunity PAC has occupied itself the past few years by spending money up and down the state on hit pieces in local races.”
They also attack the environmental wastefulness of “the avalanche of glossy, full-color cardboard” writing, “And, while we’re on the subject, can we make a general plea for politicians to ease up on all the paper? All those oversized posters in people’s mailboxes are a waste of money and resources, and can induce voter fatigue even if they’re not out-and-out ‘dirty tricks.’”
They add, “It’s particularly ironic for a candidate to tout his or her environmental credentials (usually accompanied by a color photo in a pristine landscape) on a forest’s worth of mailers for every voter in the district. Make them smaller, at least — every tree counts.”
It’s worth noting that the latest blitz on Bill Dodd does not print on recycled paper, but does claim to use “soy ink.”
As we noted earlier, just like last week’s ad, the latest missive represents a heavy distortion from the facts. The Napa County Board of Supervisors did approve a 1.4 percent increase in salary, an additional $1000. It represented the first pay increase in six years.
But importantly, 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.”
The article continues, “Napa County supervisors by law receive 47.09 percent of the Superior Court judges’ salaries. The 1.4 percent pay bump will take their annual salaries from $84,204 to about $85,370. The county received notice Dec. 2 of the judicial pay raises, which are also retroactive to July 1, according to a county staff report.”
“Supervisors and judges haven’t seen a pay raise since 2007 because of the state government’s budget problems, which resulted in a freeze of judicial salaries. The state provides the majority of the funding for California’s 58 trial courts,” the Napa paper reports.
The paper also notes, “Their salaries are still the smallest among their fellow North Bay supervisors. Solano County gives its supervisors about $94,000 in base pay, while Marin County offers about $97,000, although that’s slated to increase to $107,000 next year. Sonoma County pays its supervisors $134,000 annually.”
The Vanguard ran into Bill Dodd on Wednesday and he noted that, while the Board of Supervisors was required to vote to approve the pay increase, because of the ordinance, even if they had voted against it, the pay increase would have taken effect.
Yolo County has a similar ordinance tying pay increases to judge’s salaries as it takes the unsavory nature away from politicians having to vote to increase their own salaries.
It appears after three mailers this is what they are going to hit Mr. Dodd with. We will have to see how the FairPAC chooses to go after Mr. Wolk.
—David M. Greenwald reporting