Opinion Columns & Blogs

October 5, 2013

SLY: Missing signs and a false endorsement claim

You might think this is fall, but in local politics it is the silly season. Here are some signs: Campaign signs are going up – and going missing.

You might think this is fall, but in local politics it is the silly season. Here are some signs:

Campaign signs are going up – and going missing. I received my first complaint about missing signs from a Modesto school board candidate on Sept. 23. He reported 10 of his large signs had disappeared and estimated that replacing signs and stakes would cost about $80 per location. Given that school board races are relatively low-budget efforts, that’s a definite ouch. A local campaign consultant offered an upside: “In a strange way, having your signs targeted for destruction or theft is a mild form of flattery – in that whoever is doing it is obviously concerned with the possibility that person may get elected.”

An endorsement that isn’t. A Carmen Sabatino for MID District 2 flier shows the smiling face of Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini and, in direct quotes, a very strong endorsement.

I called DeMartini on Friday to check this out, given that the two men have had their differences and DeMartini is a Republican and Sabatino a Democrat. DeMartini’s response: He did not endorse Sabatino and did not write or say the statement that was attributed to him. “Carmen has some ideas I could agree with,” DeMartini said, but he did not endorse him and called Sabatino and told him to quit making the claim. DeMartini said he has endorsed a few Democrats over the years. Under the Central Committee bylaws, a committee member is only allowed to endorse a Democrat if there’s no Republican in the race.

The other candidate for Division 2 is John Mensinger. This is a nonpartisan race, so political affiliation shouldn’t matter, but for the record, Mensinger shows up on the registration roll as having no party preference.

Endorsements? Yes, no, maybe. Over the years, the Modesto Chamber of Commerce has been somewhere between heavily involved and staying out of the local races. This year, the chamber has made endorsements:

• Modesto City Council – Jon Rodriguez, Bill Zoslocki and Stephanie Burnside;
• Modesto Irrigation District – John Mensinger, Paul Campbell and Jim Mortensen;
• Modesto City Schools board – Brett McBay, Cindy Marks, Ruben Villalobos and Sue Zwahlen (four-year terms) and Charlie Grom (two-year term).

The chamber did not take a position on Measure X, the sales tax increase for the city.

The Nooner is a website devoted to all things political in Sacramento. It recently asked its readers to vote for “legislators of the year” in three categories. The voting was divided by house and party. Since there are far more Democrats than Republicans in the Legislature, arguably the competition is tougher for Dems.

Here are the ranks and notes published/posted by The Nooner last month:

• Most effective among Senate Republicans: 1. Anthony Cannella. “Working across the aisle to get things done.” 5. Tom Berryhill. “He has shown to communicate what’s important whether it’s a majority or not.”
• Most effective among Assembly Republicans: 5. Kristin Olsen. “Worked hard to find common ground and help the people of California.”
• Olsen also was ranked No. 5 among Assembly Republicans as “most loyal to party” and as “who would you most want to have a beer/espresso with.” Berryhill got the No. 5 ranking among Senate Republicans in that last category, with a quoted notation that he prefers wine.

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