Political video is in select viewing

Jim DeMartini
Jim DeMartini Modesto Bee

If you didn't catch the recent YouTube video hit piece on Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini, you may have missed your chance. The video was taken private Friday afternoon on the popular video site, and you need a "friend request" to watch it.

But the controversy swirling around the video is only growing.

At the center is Donna Worley, who moved to Patterson last year from Burbank and immediately launched a pair of signature drives to put City Council recall and growth limit initiatives on the ballot.

Some say she provided content for the DeMartini video, a charge Worley denied Friday.

But first, the video: It's an anonymous propaganda piece that attempts to compare DeMartini with former area Congressman Gary Condit, using innuendo about DeMartini's relationship with Serena Essapour, a young woman accused of stealing his identity after he lent her money and co-signed a loan for a car.

It also implies he has conflicts of interest because of his farming clients and stock holdings, although no details of any conflict are spelled out.

DeMartini is convinced the video was generated by PCCP West Park LLC developer Gerry Kamilos and that Worley helped.

DeMartini is the most vocal critic of West Park, a proposed 4,800-acre business and industrial park on the West Side of the county that would be anchored by a short-haul rail link to the Port of Oakland.

Kamilos vigorously denies that he or any of his consultants had anything to do with the video and said he's never met Worley, a West Park supporter. He suggests it's all part of a campaign to distract him from the development agreement he is working out with county officials.

Worley is in the middle because she is a vocal backer of the project and because she apparently purchased some of the segments used in the video.

Gordon Barbosa, who owns Barbosa Video Services in Patterson, said Friday he sold four episodes of "West Side Stories" to Worley last year. Three of the episodes contained footage of DeMartini in interviews and at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. All three showed up in the YouTube video, Barbosa said.

Episodes of "West Side Stories," which airs on Comcast Cable throughout Stanislaus County, can be purchased for $25 apiece, according to Barbosa's Web site.

"I don't know if (Worley) did it, or gave them to somebody," Barbosa said. "Someone could have taped them off the air. But some of them haven't aired for a couple of years, so it's unlikely."

When she bought the tapes, Worley told him she was new in the community and wanted to get to know the background of the area, Barbosa said.

The fourth tape she purchased was footage of a meeting between Kamilos and WS-PACE, a group opposing West Park, Barbosa said.

Didn't target 'fellow Republican'

Worley, in a voice mail message left Friday, said that she had nothing to do with the video and had nothing against DeMartini. In the message, she did not address if she had bought the tapes from Barbosa.

"I've never looked at the video, and I've never been on YouTube," she said. "I know it's a teeny-bopper thing."

She described DeMartini as "a fellow Republican," and added, "I've not said or done anything against Jim DeMartini."

Worley contended that she has been followed and harassed on the telephone since she arrived in Patterson and that her mail has been tampered with.

"I'm scared. It's threats and intimidation," she said. "I'm tired of the accusations."

DeMartini contends that Worley works for Kamilos.

"If she isn't working for Mr. Kamilos, who is she working for?" DeMartini asked Friday. "She's not doing this on her own dime. She's a paid activist. She's definitely working for somebody. If it's not Kamilos, it's someone who is supporting his project."

Worley said she isn't a paid activist. She just likes to get involved in the community, she said, describing herself as "a general citizen and activist in the community."

Kamilos said Worley is not an employee of his or of his consultants.

"That's totally false," he said. When asked who might have made the video, Kamilos replied, "Obviously, it seems to be someone who wants to make West Park look bad."

He has to remain focused on meeting the goals and deadlines of the West Park project, Kamilos said.

"It's bizarre," he said. "It is causing a lot of buzz. To do what? To distract us."

Bee staff writer Tim Moran can be reached at tmoran@modbee.com or 578-2349.

Related stories from Modesto Bee