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.
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.
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