Digging Through the Dross of the Campaign Mail Bag

This time of year they are more common than a foreclosure in Sacramento, Stockton or the Inland Empire.

They purport to educate voters and “guide” them to the correct ballot choices.

What they actually do is attack, exaggerate, inflame and obfuscate. 

They are the pieces of mail sent to voters by candidates, ballot measures and interest groups.

Should a voter bother to read one, pay attention to the asterisks. 

California law — thanks to some visionary lawmaker and governor — requires that these slate mailers place an asterisk next to candidates or ballot measures that paid for the mailer to embrace or oppose them.

In fact, these slate mailers are now required to tell voters the following: “Appearance in this mailer does not necessarily imply endorsement of others appearing in this mailer, nor does it imply endorsement of, or opposition to, any issues set forth in this mailer. Appearance is paid for and authorized by each candidate and ballot measure which is designated by an (asterisk).”

Put another way: The endorsement of the entity sending out this mailer goes to the highest bidder.  

Slate mailers come from doctors, firefighters and interest groups such as the “Save Proposition 13 Newsletter” of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The Save Proposition 13 Newsletter is “published irregularly by Save Proposition 13 segregated Fund Account, a project of Save Proposition 13 Candidate and Legislation Evaluation Committee.”

Actually, the newsletter is published with callous regularity — every election cycle. 

The “newsletter” encourages supporters of Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 property tax initiative that changed California governance, to vote for Dave Cox, the incumbent GOP senator fro a district that includes parts of Sacramento but stretches to the Oregon border. There is an asterisk after Cox’s name.

The newsletter urges support for Roger Neillo, the incumbent GOP Assembly member from the Greater Sacramento area. There is an asterisk after Niello’s name.

The newsletter calls for a “yes” on Proposition 8 which, the newsletter says, would “restore traditional marriage (Editor’s Note: Who knew it had vanished?), protect children (Editor’s Note: From what?) and strengthen families. (Editor’s Note: Uh-huh.) Yes on 8 overturns the decision of liberal, activist judges from San Francisco.”  (Editor’s Note: Three of the four California Supreme Court judges who voted to overturn the same sex marriage ban were appointed by Republican governors. They come from San Francisco because the court is headquartered there.)

Need it be said: There is an asterisk. Proposition 8 supporters may have actually paid more for the association’s endorsement since its the only ballot measure in the “newsletter” with an exclamation point. What is the going rate for an exclamation point these days?

The newsletter recommends a “yes” vote on Proposition 11, which would take the job of drawing legislative boundary lines out of the hands of lawmakers. There is an asterisk. 

There’s also an asterisk next the newsletter’s recommended “yes” vote on Proposition 4, which would require parental notification before an unemancipated girl gets an abortion. 

Yet another asterisk is next to the box calling for a “yes” on Proposition 2, the Humane Society’s effort to improve the alleged mistreatment of farm animals, mainly egg-laying chickens. 

(Editor’s Note: It is perplexing that a taxpayers association, whose stated purpose is to protect Proposition 13 and, by inference, keep government’s hands out of taxpayer purses, wallets and pockets, would remotely care about the treatment of farm animals and social issues such as abortion notification and same sex marriage. The fiscal nexus is illusive other than the enrichment of the association by the supporters of those ballot measures.)

In fact, there are asterisks next to pretty much every position the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Group has “taken” in its “newsletter.”

No on Proposition 6, No on Proposition 7, No on Proposition 9, No on Proposition 10 — “ALL taxpayer groups oppose $10 billion special interest boondoggle” — (Editor’s Note: If all taxpayer groups think its such anathema, why charge to voice that sentiment?)

The only freebies in which the taxpayers association took a position without the assistance of a wad of cash are opposition to Proposition 1A and Proposition 3, two bond measures. The newsletter is silent, however, on Proposition 12, a bond measure to aid veterans through lower interest home and farm loans.

As the headline on the guest column of the “newsletter” says: “These are Scary Times for Homeowners.”

Scary indeed but it’s nice to see at least someone is making a buck or two out there.





Filed under: Venting


  1. Once again your wit coupled with reality has hit the mark. Too bad you missed the COPS slate which is supposed to be from the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, the only problem with this group is there are no sheriff members of COPS. Great title which can be used if your local law enforcement doesn\’t endorse you.

    Comment by Paul — 11.04.2008 @ 9:09 am

  2. travesti

    Comment by travesti — 11.17.2008 @ 3:22 pm

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