The Problem WIth Independent Expenditure Committees

Frank Bigelow seems an affable fellow. He is running for the newly drawn 5th Assembly district which includes parts of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Placer, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Madera and Mono counties.

But not Sacramento.

So it’s a bit odd to find a four-page, glossy color 8½ by 11 inch mailer touting Bigelow’s candidacy in the mailbox of a suburban Sacramento home.

The mailer was paid for by a group called the Mother Lode Taxpayers Association whose major funding comes from the California Dental Association and the California Realtors.

The Mother Lode Taxpayers Association is an independent expenditure committee meaning Bigelow – or any other candidate such entities promote – can’t tell the backers how to spend the money to best benefit.

If Bigelow were able to confer with the committee’s donors possibly he might have told the taxpayers association they could have saved quite a few pennies by not sending the slick mailer to a bunch of people who can’t vote for him.

He also might have offered the taxpayers association – and the dentists and realtors – some editing suggestions.

The front of the mailer is graced with Bigelow’s walrus-mustached, Stetson-capped visage. He is described as a “trusted rancher.”

As opposed to a deceitful, devious, fly-by-night, untrustworthy, shady, double-dealing, Janus-faced, thieving rancher.

He is also a “proven” conservative, the cover says. And a “consistent” one, the back informs. Not a scintilla of evidence proving either claim is offered until Page 3.

Inside, voters are assured Bigelow understands the issues “facing our communities and he is committed to protecting our way of life.”

As proof of this assertion, the realtors and dentists note only that Bigelow has been a volunteer firefighter for 39 years, a “leader for the Spring Valley 4-H Club,” a member of the county fair board, a vice-president of the Ponderosa Telephone Company, a rancher – as previously stated — as well as a husband, father and grandfather.

A reader must soldier on another page before learning that Bigelow is or was a supervisor for an indeterminate period of time of a nameless county. From his campaign website, one learns the county is Madera.

As a supervisor he “fought to make government accountable,” the dentists and realtors assure, cut his pay 9 percent and county spending by an unknown percentage while building a “rainy day reserve.”

All to protect taxpayers, of course. Hence the reason for the mailer.

As further proof of Bigelow being a proven conservative and protector of taxpayers, the mailer says he’s “standing up against Sacramento politicians and their $68 billion High Speed Rail boondoggle.”

There are 120 legislators in the Capitol, 80 in the Assembly where Bigelow wants a seat to join the very people the mailer says he’s against. The $9.95 billion bond to provide seed money for the high-speed rail project was backed by 6,680,485 Californians in November 2008.

Bigelow, the mailer informs, is “leading the fight to stop Jerry Brown’s $7 billion tax increase.” Perhaps it’s that subtle, lower-profile style of leadership.

No doubt if Bigelow had some say in the mailer’s content, the information buttressing its assertions would be far more substantive.



Filed under: Venting


  1. Heaven help us all to survive this year’s elections. Amen!

    Comment by Nui K — 5.07.2012 @ 11:26 am

  2. Rico Oller has been a part of the problem for California for years. He is divisive and only out for his interests. He has no interest or vision in saving California from its mess. Frank does. And whether or not this author wants to admit it, Bigelow is heads and tales above Rico.

    The fact that Rico wants to pad his retirement by consistently running for office after office is a sure sign of a political bureaucrat that has only his interests in mind. A couple of years ago, he ran for Congress, and now a second stint in the Assembly before he makes another run at Senate. Heck he will only be able to represent his constituents for 2 years. He is wrong for our community and our state.

    Let’s use a quote from Rico, “Leadership is about doing what is right not expedient.” At this Rico’s history has been to consistently lead by the expedient method. Like he says, just say no, and no, and no. It is his kind of leadership why we have such a mess in Sacramento. We need new creative leaders. We need leaders like Frank Bigelow.

    And In regards to your statement regarding Bigelow as being devious, etc, it is disappointing to read your malicious comments with zero evidence to support your claims. Of course you demand proof from others, just not yourself. Then again it is fitting for an Oller supporter to act just like Rico.

    Comment by John Bailey — 5.08.2012 @ 2:36 pm

  3. Rico Oller was elected after Proposition 140, which passed in 1990, outlawed pensions for state legislators. Rico ran and served knowing that he would never receive a taxpayer financed pension. So, allegations that he would receive a pension boost if elected to the Assembly are categorically false.

    However, Madera County Supervisor Frank Bigelow will receive a taxpayer
    financed pension for the thirteen years he has been in elective office.

    In fact, Madera county records show that taxpayers have already contributed over $178,000 to Bigelow’s retirement and social security costs.

    Because of the county’s generous contribution toward Bigelow’s pension and health care, his total compensation package for being a part-time Supervisor exceeds $100,000/year.

    It can be useful to do a fact check before posting desperate and deceptive attacks online for all to see.

    Comment by Isaac Kight — 5.09.2012 @ 11:41 am

  4. So, $178,000 earned income does not compare to the $210,000 Rico Oller racked up Per Diem in his last term!!!

    Comment by Bear — 5.23.2012 @ 6:30 pm

  5. Go back to your den, Barak.

    Comment by Lolly — 5.27.2012 @ 2:22 pm

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