RIVERBANK -- Four business officials at the former Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant were surprised to learn Thursday that a video they appear in with Mayor Virginia Madueño was produced as part of her re-election campaign.
Representatives of the firms thought the video would be used to promote the plant, which the city is transforming into an industrial park. But Madueño plans to use the video in her re-election campaign, which she apparently did not make clear to the participants.
The Bee contacted four of the five businesses Thursday. Officials said the mayor did not tell them the 12-minute video would be featured in her efforts for a second term.
"I didn't know it was part of a campaign," said Juliet Perry, owner of Greeneyes Manufacturing, which makes composite lumber. "
I thought they were promoting this place to get more jobs and businesses here."
Perry and the other business officials said they were not offended the video will be used in Madueño's campaign.
"We knew she was running for re-election," said Ben Forman, co-founder of Intuitive Motion, which makes weight-sensing electric skateboards. "And we're OK with being in the video, but we are not endorsing her."
Madueño said she did tell the businesses the video would be part of her campaign, but took responsibility for any misunderstandings. The video was shot a few weeks ago; no city resources were used.
When the video is finished in the next week or so, she said, it will include a disclaimer saying it does not constitute an endorsement of her campaign. Madueño did not tell businesses about the disclaimer until Thursday, after The Bee began asking questions.
The video will be posted on her campaign Web site and Facebook page. And her campaign volunteers will hand out copies to potential voters.
Subjects of video not in the know
One political scientist is troubled that the mayor was not more forthcoming when she created the video.
"The fact is the people who were on camera did not know what they were being used for," said Bob Benedetti, a political science professor at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
Riverbank Councilman Richard O'Brien Madueño's opponent in the Nov. 6 election declined to speak at length.
"I don't really have a positive or negative comment," he said. "If this is how she's campaigning, then fine."
The video starts with Madueño standing in front of the World War II-era plant, saying that many people drive by the Claus Road complex without understanding its significance. She said the complex is home to "some amazing businesses" that are growing and providing "viable jobs" for the region.
She then interviews representatives from the five businesses: AM2T, a high-tech metallurgy company; NX Stage Security, which makes security doors; Donaldson Co., which provides filtration systems; Greeneyes; and Intuitive Motion.
The businesses praised the city and city officials for their help and being a good partner. Since Riverbank took over the site in April 2010, city officials say it has grown from nine tenants with 145 workers to 27 tenants with more than 300 employees.
Madueño, 46, is the owner of Imagen Public Relations. She was elected mayor in November 2009 to fill the remaining term of a mayor who had resigned.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2316.