Wolk and Yamada Push Back against Big Money Pushing into Respective Races

Wolk Official HeadshoptExchange Between Wolk and Aguiar-Curry on Fracking

Both the Senate and Assembly races have seen the push of big money from oil, tobacco, EdVoice and other monied interests.  And while Davis Mayor Dan Wolk, running for Assembly, and former Assemblymember Mariko Yamada are not aligned or supporting each other, they released nearly concurrent releases pushing back against the independent expenditure campaigns.

The Wolk 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 www.danwolk.org/bigoil,” 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” 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.”

Mariko Yamada

Corporate Money Trail: How Chevron, Big Tobacco and Corporate Special Interests are Boosting Bill Dodd’s Campaign for CA State Senate

In the meantime, Mariko Yamada, candidate for State Senate fired back against the IE Campaign backing Assemblymember Bill Dodd.

Her campaign writes:

Some of the nation’s largest corporations are working behind the scenes to elect Bill Dodd.

Public documents filed with the Secretary of State’s office reveal the dark money behind Bill Dodd’s main allies and supporters – and the direct contributions to his State Senate campaign.

In less than one month, a shocking $1.4 million has been spent from seven different independent expenditure committees – all funded by corporate special interests, big business, big tobacco and big oil – making the Third State Senate District the top race in California for corporate special interest groups.

The facts:

1. From April 13, 2016 until May 16, 2016, the “EdVoice” independent expenditure committee – partially funded by JobsPac, which accepted money from the tobacco industry (Phillip Morris), Walmart’s heir and Republican real estate developer William Bloomfield – spent a total of $960,364 supporting Bill Dodd’s campaign.

2. “Californians for Jobs and Strong Economy” – the Chevron-backed IE – has spent a total $206,576.56 supporting Dodd’s campaign.

3. “Alliance To Get California Working Political Action Committee” funded by big tobacco spent $45,077 supporting Dodd on May 12, 2016.

4. “Cooperative of American Physicians” and “Californians Allied for Patient   Protection Independent Expenditure Account”, funded by healthcare corporations, together spent over $142,500 to Bill Dodd in just the past two weeks. (Source: electiontrack.com)

5. Groups like Monsanto, bank associations, insurance companies and other corporate interests are donating tens of thousands of dollars to Bill Dodd directly.

Money is funneled from committee to committee, but if you follow the money trail – it all leads back to the corporate titans of big oil, tobacco, pharmaceutical and insurance companies, and leading conservative Republican donors.

It’s clear these companies get what they pay for.

As Chevron, Monsanto, other anti-environmental groups and insurance companies support Assemblyman Bill Dodd, he supports them right back.

*  A recipient of multiple contributions from Monsanto, Dodd voted against legislation that would require manufacturers to disclose their ingredients on consumer products. (AB708, Business and Professions Committee)

*  A key environmental bill requiring California’s emission standards be set 40% below 1990 levels failed to pass because Assemblymember Dodd and 14 other Senators did not vote. Dodd tells voters he cares about the environment, but when it comes to making a key vote, Dodd takes a walk.  (Source: September 9, 2015)

* After the tragic balcony collapse in Berkeley that took the life of a local resident, Dodd walked out on a vote for SB465, which would require increased oversight on contractor claims involving negligence, fraud and incompetence. (http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article27262366.html)

*  In both his 2014 Assembly races, Dodd accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from corporations like Walmart and anti-environmental groups like Monsanto, Allied Propane Service and the California Independent Petroleum Association, an arm of big oil. (FPPC filings, 2014-2016)

*  And Bill Dodd failed to appear at the most recent State Senate Candidate Debate on May 11 in Dixon – a town in Bill Dodd’s own Assembly District. (Source: The Reporter article, May 12, 2016)

Corporate-backed Bill Dodd is conveniently absent when called to take on the tough fights.

A registered Republican just months before he ran for Assembly, he switched his party affiliation when he realized he couldn’t win as a Republican – so perhaps it’s no surprise that this conservative candidate is receiving support from special corporate interests.

Mariah Noah, Yamada campaign coordinator, said, “Follow the money – and the votes. It’s clear Bill Dodd is in the pockets of corporate special interests. Voters have a very clear choice – side with corporations or support Mariko Yamada’s people-powered campaign. A social worker for over 40 years, Mariko is a principled leader  dedicated to serving and strengthening middle class families and taking a stand to protect our environment, water and food supply, seniors, veterans, and the most vulnerable communities. It’s the tale of two campaigns that voters need to hear.”

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. Marina Kalugin

    So happy to see the truth coming out…

    Mariko Yamada’s campaign has been nearly all word of mouth and lots of volunteers….

    When I started getting upset about the PUSH POLLS>..see my documentation on another recent thread, I was horrified….I contacted Mariko and started sharing some of the info I was uncovering.

    I have little time to do such research, but feel so fortunate that she has a team of volunteers who do.

    It was odd, as since the push poll went after Saylor, I thought that Wolk was being protected…..I am not a fan of Wolk’s stand and behavior on some issues on the council….but Aguilar is WAY worse…

    Mariko’s name was not even mentioned in the last two of the same push polls I received.

    It was ALL about promoting Dodd and Aguilar….

    PS>  Mariko and my life has crossed paths many a time over the last 22 years…and each time, she was the one trying to make a difference in whatever public role she held at the time….

    Thank you for helping expose this level of fraud…   (I hope you see this, Tia Will…..)

    As I tell MANY people these days that actions speak louder than words….look at the history and the actions.

      1. Justice4All

        A push poll is a nasty political tactic where a campaign or PAC staffer will call you and ask you a series of misleading questions with the intent on “pushing” you away from the targeted candidate. All of this is done in the guise of being a neutral pollster.

  2. Marina Kalugin

    look at what Mariko has done and continues to do….and then look past the slick brochures and vote for the TRUE leader of the pack…

      1. Marina Kalugin

        where were you, pugi, when Mariko was the Assemblymember for 3 terms, six years….if you don’t know what she has done,  do I have time to spoon feed you?   jeez


      2. Marina Kalugin

        did YOU, pugi, read the doc I posted with the name of the company and the phone number….it was on one of these threads….   read what Sean writes and you may get a clue…perhaps….perhaps not…you would have to have heard the progression of the questions …..

  3. Frankly

    Mariko Yamada has her hands in every employee union group’s pocket.  If she isn’t getting dollars she is getting their free labor… something that should be quantified.

        1. Justice4All

          Im actually shocked CTA is neutral on this one, given how much money Ed Voice is putting behind Dodd. He does have several unions backing him, including mine. SEIU and the Nurses are with Mariko.

        2. The Pugilist

          I’m not surprised.  Dodd’s voting record is probably little different from Wolk or Yamada’s.  So why would CTA stick their nose in?

  4. The Pugilist

    I have very reluctantly come to the conclusion that I have to support Wolk.  Saylor is a non-starter – Covell Village, firefighters, contracts, land use, human relations commission, etc.  Cecilia is a problem because her campaign is basically the IEs.  Every piece of mail, the signs, the TV ads are paid for by these outside groups.  She is going to be beholden to them if she wins.  That leaves Wolk.  He doesn’t deserve it – his tenure on the council has been a waste, I’m disgusted with his conduct overall, but he’s the cleanest of the three.  Yuck.

    1. Adam Smith

      Agree about Saylor, but not Cecilia.     Wolk and Cecilia both are beholden to outside groups, but Cecilia’s tenure as mayor of Winters is much better than Wolk’s.  She gets my vote on that basis.

      1. Justice4All

        Which outside groups are each of the candidates beholden to? Cecilia has real estate, oil and gas, phillip morris and the charter school people. Who is Wolk beholden to? Im curious.

        1. The Pugilist

          My concern with Wolk is he is beholden to fire at this point, less concerning at the state level.  My concern is also his lack of apparent backbone on certain issues.  But I’m generally more concerned with Cecilia.

  5. skeptical

    I don’t understand this article.  Dan Wolk and Mariko Yamada have both taken money in exchange for their positions.  That is the “beholden” some are objecting to.  Aguilar-Curry and Dodd have not done this in regard to these independent expenditures.  The funds spent on their behalf have no strings attached.  They are not beholden to those groups.  It appears these expenditures are in opposition to Wolk and Yamada, more than in support of Aguilar-Curry and Dodd. 
    It would more interesting to explore why these groups are opposing Wolk and Yamada.  Where is that article?  That these two candidates are scrounging for free press in the final days of the campaign is a strong indication that they are finished. 

  6. Marina Kalugin

    Mariko is not so much a fan of common core – now that is a true industry driven disaster by non-teachers… and she believes Gate is for ALL who qualify.

    The CTA tends to protect mediocrity and teaching to the lowest common denominator.

    sorry, not been a fan of the CTA over the decades overall ….that does not mean I have not been a huge supporter of teachers… and Davis has had some great CTA reps…

    parents continued to struggle for the best for ALL students and sometimes the CTA was not on that side….



  7. Tia Will


    Thank you for helping expose this level of fraud…   (I hope you see this, Tia Will…..)”

    Since you chose to reference me personally, I will respond. Yes, I have read your numerous allegations of fraud. I have yet to see you specify any action that I believe rises to the level of fraud from either candidate you name.

    Push polling, according to what I have read, including the posted link is a very specific activity. Providing the name of a company and a phone number is not the equivalent of proof that either candidate solicited or approved this kind of activity on their behalf. So I am wondering if you have spoken directly to either Bill Dodd or Cecilia Aquiar -Curry with regard to their supporters and whose money they have kept and whose they have returned. What is much more important to me is to know their positions and what they have accomplished to date. I have spoken to both directly. On the basis of that, I remain uncertain about Cecelia at this point.

    If you have something substantiating to say about her, I would appreciate hearing it. You have stated that you “you used to trust her” but have not posted anything that is convincing for why you lost that trust. With regard to Dodd, I don’t care as I have already made my decision.

  8. Marina Kalugin

    This is because you accused me last time Tia….and if you did NOT get the calls, then you would not understand.

    I did post the phone number and what came up on caller ID>

    For those who have MORE time than me, those calls ARE recorded…and if anyone knows how to get a copy of mine….there were at least three.

    They represent that it is an impartial survey but it is not.

    When I started asking what they were doing, who paid them and why…they said they had to follow the script.

    Anytime I asked a question, it was they had to follow a script..

    When I noticed who they were pushing it was Dodd and Aguilar….

    I suspected Wolf also, as they also rebutted on Saylor…

    I also received similar calls on the LAST election….since I answer and participate, I get return “surveys”.

    I would appreciate it if anyone else who cares about these races would look at their call  logs and see if they were also receiving such calls.

    I kept asking why the major candidate was not even mentioned, they had to follow the script…

    They were checking on various topics to see if the fact that Cecelia is supported by Philip Morris made a difference….  good, bad or indifferent.

    If I actually responded with a  concern, there would be a rebuttal on the side of Dodd OR Aquilar……

    What I heard on THAT call was enough….

    Each day for some weeks now, my sons,  my husband  and I are getting mounds of glossy stuff from Aguilar, Dodd and yes on A…..

    I read what Kropp said here on the DV….did anyone else even see THAT?   no comments except mine…



  9. Tia Will

    I was here – I can’t think of a single major piece of legislation she sponsored.”

    Well I guess that depends on what you consider “major”. I am most appreciative of efforts to help those who actually need help. Yamada spearheaded the Volunteer Assistance Program for those who could not afford assistance for themselves. Those of you on the right should fully appreciate any help that people get to prevent “their money from being stolen” by those darn liberals along with 31 bills that she sponsored which were passed.

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