Saylor Jumps into the IE Criticism

Don Saylor - courtesy photo
Don Saylor – courtesy photo

For the past week it was Assembly Candidates Dan Wolk and Cecilia-Aguiar Curry who sparred over independent expenditure contributions, with the Wolk campaign sending out a a press release accusing “oil giants” of spending hundreds of thousands in independent expenditures in support of his opponent, Winters Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry.

Her campaign fired back that she supports a moratorium on fracking and accused Mr. Wolk of distorting her comment at a Sierra Club candidates’ forum.

Yolo County Supervisor and former Davis Mayor Don Saylor had stayed out of the fray, but, on Tuesday, Don Saylor’s campaign issued a press release of its own, denouncing outside spending in the Assembly campaign, which by the weekend had topped $1.3 million for and against two candidates.

The press release states, “Over the weekend, JobsPAC and the California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee spent $100,600 to support Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and a group called Keep Californians Working has sent a negative flyer attacking Dan Wolk.  In addition, the independent expenditure committee, Coalition for a Healthy Community Supporting Wolk and Opposing Aguiar-Curry for Assembly 2016, spent $40,188.67 to oppose Curry.  Last week, Wolk decried outside spending in Assembly District 4 by launching a video that attacked Curry.”

Supervisor Saylor said, “It is disappointing to see Big Money play such a large role in our elections and to see this attack mentality emerging in this race.  It is clear which candidates the lobbyists and special interests feel align with their interests.  I’m the candidate For the People.  When I get to the State Capitol, I will not have to answer to Big Oil, Big Tobacco, or special interests groups that have poured in soft money to support the other candidates.

“In the Assembly, I will advocate for reforms of California’s campaign finance system that will regulate outside spending. There are good reasons to cap financial contributions to election campaigns. The independent expenditures supporting candidates for office serve as a vehicle for big corporations and interest groups to get around normal contribution limits for individual donors.”

Mr. Saylor continued, “Big Money has a chilling effect on our political process.  Just a few months ago – after reportedly feeling pressure from Big Soda – candidate Dan Wolk voted against placing a sugar-sweetened tax on the ballot that would have generated much needed revenue for healthy living programs.”

He added, “Candidate Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s campaign has benefitted from well over a million dollars in outside spending, paid for by Big Oil, Big Tobacco and other deep pocket interest groups and corporations.  In the Assembly, I will work to level the playing field and get Big Money out of politics.”

Independent expenditure money started pouring into the race for Dan Wolk this weekend for the first time.  The Coalition for a Healthy Community reported spending $20,229 in support of Mayor Dan Wolk’s campaign over the weekend, in addition to $40,000 for mailers opposing Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. That  coalition is funded with $50,000 from the California Nurses Association and $53,500 from Consumer Attorneys of California.

But the war was on before that. Last Monday, Dan Wolk’s Assembly campaign released a statement, “Oil giants, including Chevron, Valero and Tesoro have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s bid for Assembly District 4 over the last two weeks, according to state campaign finance filings. These independent expenditures came as Aguiar-Curry said at a League of Women Voters forum in Woodland that the ‘jury’s still out’ on the practice of fracking.”

The statement continues, “The Coalition To Restore California’s Middle Class has spent $325,000, mostly on cable television advertising in the 4th Assembly District. The group is funded entirely by large oil companies. Overall, outside groups, including groups largely funded by big oil and tobacco companies, have spent over $1 million supporting Aguiar-Curry. A full list of the expenditures and funders can be found below.

“The oil companies’ expenditures for Aguiar-Curry began on May 5, the day after she said at a League of Women Voters forum in Woodland that she felt ‘the jury is still out’ on fracking. Oil companies have heavily lobbied the legislature for relaxed regulations on the practice of fracking, which many scientists believe is environmentally dangerous.”

Davis Mayor Dan Wolk immediately criticized Aguiar-Curry’s statement about fracking at the forum and pointed out the dangers for our state and region. “A video of the exchange can be found at,” his campaign claims.

“Big oil is trying to buy a seat in the Assembly for their chosen candidate, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, because she has shown she will not resist their attempts to hurt our environment. I won’t stand for that,” said Dan Wolk in a statement. “I have spent my career taking on special interests like big oil and I will continue to fight for our environment in the Assembly.”

Mr. Wolk, the release states, “also supports an oil severance tax as a means of funding important state programs, like transportation, schools and health care. California is the only major oil-producing state in the country without such a tax. He has built a strong environmental record as Mayor of Davis, which earned him the endorsement of the California League of Conservation Voters, the environmental movement’s political arm, and environmental leaders like Senator Fran Pavley.”

However, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry immediately shot back, stating, “I responded directly to my opponent regarding an edited video posted on his Facebook page about my position on fracking. I’ve included a snapshot of that comment, as it was taken down by his campaign after it was well received by the public and supporters.”

The screen shot indicates, “The brief, edited clip you reference above is not an accurate representation of my feelings about fracking.”

Ms. Aguiar-Curry notes that “the jury is still out” statement was in fact “in reference to finding more information in regard to this practice.”

She says, “As I have stated in multiple endorsement surveys, and in other forums where you were present, I support a moratorium on fracking because of serious concerns that have been raised about the impact on the environment.”

She states that her direct quote to the Sierra Club in March was, “I believe that a moratorium on fracking would be prudent so we can study its overall impacts to our environment.”

—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. Tia Will

    OK Frankly, this one is for you since it is my first post ever that involves rainbows and unicorns since that is how sure I am that it will not happen in my lifetime. I have a list of my preferences for how campaigns be conducted. It is based on how thoroughly disappointed I am in the behavior of candidates at all levels of government. So my preferences are as below.

    1. Stop pretending that money is “free speech”. All campaigns publicly funded with a strict limit on expenditures.

    2. Candidates to limit their comments to their assessments of issues. When asked questions, they limit their answer to their perspective on the issue, not how evil or beholden their opponent may or may not be.

    3. Each candidate should present an overview of their own legislative agendas, with background of the problem, pros and cons of their approach, and an assessment of how they would approach getting their legislation enacted.

    4. Each candidate should present a list of their actual previous accomplishments. No generalized “I have worked for you. I want the best for our students. I get things done. ”

    4. No globally mailed information. If I want campaign literature I can request it. There is no need to waste paper which will arrive directly in my recycle once I realize what it is. If they want to send it electronically, fine. I can delete as fast as they can send.

    Simple requests. Bring on the unicorns.


    1. hpierce


      1: do you really mean ALL campaigns, no matter how speculative/frivolous?  If for fun, on a dare/bet should I be publicly funded to run for office?

      2: Agreed… also as likely to take place as me being killed by a meteorite today… love the concept, though.

      3: Agreed… also as likely to take place as me being killed by a meteorite today… love the concept, though.

      4:  Agreed… also as likely to take place as me being killed by a meteorite today… love the concept, though.

      4 (redux):  Agreed, sort of… agreed as to needing a request.   Disagree, as to that implies all candidates have access to personal e-mail addresses… that’s something I’d want a “throw-away” e-mail address for… the possibility of charlatans (running for office), and/or hackers having my e-mail address?  Not so much support for that… would rather deal with the recycling…

  2. Misanthrop

    Unicorn smunicorn. I’m all for reforming the system but in the meantime this is the system we have.

    Saylor is probably polling out of the money and since abstinence is preferable to impotence he is putting on his best game face and giving it his best shot.

    The real contest is between Wolk and Aguiar-Curry and I have no idea who is ahead. I’ve long supported Dan. I met him before he was on the council. Interestingly, I met him independent of his parents at a neighbors house party, I think it was on the 4th of July.

    Having stated my friendship and support of Dan I do want to respond to Tia’s wishful thinking on the topic of policy positions. Dan has been out front in his opposition to more oil trains running through Davis. This is a safety issue I am seriously concerned about. If one of these trains wipes out in Davis it could be catastrophic. I find Aguiar-Curry being supported by Valero, the company that wants to ship massive amounts of oil through Davis by rail on a daily basis, troubling. If elected will she stand up for big oil or the people of Davis? Who knows? But as Mark Felt, the FBI agent more famously known as Deep Throat, told Woodward and Bernstein, “Follow the money.”

    1. Barack Palin

      Wish I had the clip of Dan Wolk hemming, hawing and tripping all over himself trying to find a way to justify his vote on firefighter staffing.  It was pathetic to say the least.  Just what CA needs, another politician who’s beholden to unions.

        1. Barack Palin

          What votes has Aguiar-Curry made that shows she’s beholden to corporations?

          Now, has Dan Wolk ever made a vote that’s beholden to unions? OOOP’s…….

        2. Barack Palin

          Does anyone have a link of the City Council meeting of Dan Wolk explaining(?) his firefighter vote?  Please post.  It’s worth watching.

  3. Tia Will


    do you really mean ALL campaigns, no matter how speculative/frivolous?’

    A good point that I had not considered. No, I do not recommend that the public pay for the candidacy of “Spot” the dog, or someone’s five year old. I do however think that some means ( maybe a fixed number of supportive signatures) or some other mechanism could be adopted to weed out the truly frivolous. I grant that their could be differences of opinion on “frivolous” but believe that some means could be devised to address this.

    Disagree, as to that implies all candidates have access to personal e-mail addresses “

    Also a good point. Never in my wildest dreams did I see this as anything other than an opt in if you want to receive messages and obviously did not make that clear.

    Finally, I sincerely hope that your are not killed by a meteorite ( or by any other method) today !

  4. HouseFlipper

    Dan seems like a nice enough guy, but this is an easy choice for me. Saylor is the most ethical one in the race and has the best experience.


  5. Marina Kalugin

    I like Don also….and Schaup…but…can Saylor get in the top two…..this is kinda like poker..or something…trying to keep cecilia out of the top two….and wolk out as a secondary…but how is my one puny vote going to count……this is the typical conundrum….. will forget about the party and vote the heart…and for who one can trust and so forth….oh well….

  6. wdf1

    I heard secondhand that Aguiar-Curry sent potholders as campaign swag to potential voters in the mail.  Can anyone else verify?  I’m disappointed that I didn’t receive that item.

    1. Dave Hart

      The potholder arrived addressed in my wife’s name although both of us are registered ‘decline to state’.  I suppose the potholder is for “the little woman” of the house because us manly men don’t cook!  In any case, it’s a cheap and chintzy little red thing that I would not trust to keep my hand from getting burned.  In other words, a monumental waste of money that only Chevron and Valero could afford.

      1. Marina Kalugin

        yep likely for the “womanly” vote….   kinda like the Killary…..or something…..and truly, who needs that junky junk….

        and how many trees and water were wasted in making or more useless junk and  all the junk mails?

        now of course, if we got a pricey MANLY one suitable for barbecuing, heck now that may be different…. nah……..

        1. The Pugilist

          A few comments…

          First, probably not as much as you think in terms of trees.

          Second, people like to complain about campaigns, but democracy is messy.  How do you raise your message above the din?  Mail is one technique.  We don’t like it, but the reality is that in a big campaign, there is no effective way to reach people without direct mail and ads.

          So what exactly do you want?  Only people you agree with to send you mail?

      2. wdf1

        DH:  The potholder arrived addressed in my wife’s name although both of us are registered ‘decline to state’.  I suppose the potholder is for “the little woman” of the house because us manly men don’t cook!

        Seems like a gimmick that wasn’t carefully thought out.

  7. Marina Kalugin

    we didn’t get any potholders either…but get mounds of stuff daily from the two IE funded candidates….literally mounds for the 4 of us and daily.

    somehow the guy running for senate also was using my ucd email address for his campaign stuff…but it  is hidden as “friendly” and “useful” meetings as the assembly rep for the ucd district…

    I’d been emailing back asking such questions, but get nothing but form responses back.

    in the meantime, some realtors I know in the Winters area are aghast at the tactics and what the IE funded candidates are supporting.

    now that the PGE huge training center is under construction in Winters, there is also a massive new TOWERS project on the drawing board…..

    guess who the folks are who support the new high electric towers that are now being proposed?

    don’t have to look far…it is the same “folks” who are getting the massive bucks from the IEs….

    Vote Saylor…vote Yamada….ignore the ones who the big bucks are buying  errr….funding………..


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