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Solid Liberal Opposes 86 and 87?

by johnk Monday, Nov. 06, 2006 at 9:18 PM

Things I learned after exploring who funded a flyer that I received.

Solid Liberal Oppose...
front1.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x774

Judy Chu came up from the grassroots of the West San Gabriel Valley, in the moderate-liberal city of Monterey Park, to become one of the Asian women politicians in California. She's also been a solid liberal within the Democratic party, taking positions on civil liberties that some Dems are afraid to support. She's publicly endorsed "Yes on 86" and "Yes on 87" -- see their websites.

86 would increase the cigarette tax. 87 would create an oil tax and spend the funds on alternatives to gasoline fuel.

Look at the flyer above, and the one below. They are two sides of a slick mailer I got last week.  (Ever since I registered Dem to vote on the Kucinich nomination, I've gotten an ever-growing pile of Dem-targeted material.  I'm a novice at tracing campaign money.)

How did she end up on the opposition's flyers?

The clue is in the third image, below. It's the disclaimer from the corner. What it says is that Judy Chu, and all the other popular Democrat candidates (except for Cruz), did NOT pay to send this mailer out. They probably did NOT even approve of the mailer.

You can see who paid for it by finding the asterisks (*s) next to the names.

These liberals are having their faces used by the big oil and cigarette companies that paid for this flyer.

Why did Cruz's campaign pay for it? Well, maybe they didn't know it was going to be dominated by the BIG OIL and BIG CIGS. Or maybe he did know, and is getting money from them. It's hard to tell, because this "California Asian Families Network" is a business that sells these mailers.

This started a lot of web-searches, to track down who's paying for what.  It was like Friendster or MySpace, except that it's a bit harder to search.

What's with all the languages?

Studies show that appealing to a voter in their first language, even when they can read English, is a way to get their support. Yes on 86 and Yes on 87 lack the budgets to do targeted mailers in-language for languages other than Spanish.

86 and 87 will try to succeed on their merits.

This is why the Voting Rights Act matters. It mandates that election materials be offered in common foreign languages. This is especially important for Asian people, because the multilingual translations in the guides are the ONLY resource Asian people have that counters the big corporate money.

If the VRA's repealed, and ballot materials go English-only, then only the best funded initiatives and candidates -- the most friendly to corporations -- will offer their materials in-language. They'll look at the ethnic vote as "easy pickings".

Who mailed this out? The California Asian Familes Network

Who is that? I never heard of them myself. It's located at,+San+Francisco,+CA+94114&ie=UTF8&z=15&om=1&iwloc=addr (Google Maps link). It appears to be a residence, near Twin Peaks and the Castro. Perhaps it's a consultant's address.

A web search reveals that it's also this address: The Committee to Re-Elect Terence Hallinan ‘04, 38 Homestead St., SF, CA 94114, back in 2004. see the source. (That's interesting.)

It's also listed at BOMASF as the address for donations to Care Not Cash, in 1997. (See also, Indybay for a criticism) Also here and here, as the address of Ronald Jin, treasurer of all these election committees.

I can only speculate...

...on what's going on here. The guy seems to be an pretty important Democrat, liberal. Probably supported Newsom over Martinez (the Green) in the mayoral election, but a web search shows him on the left-center. Do the candidates on the flyer know him? Does Chu know him? Was this a scam run on the people, or against the big propositions? Who got this mailer: only people who were already decided about 86 and 87? It's hard to figure out.

If anyone has answers, I'd appreciate them.

Back to the mailer, and back to the state

Going back to Cal-Access, I discovered that you can look up CAFN by number. Here's the page about CAFN:


That's page has PDFs of their filings. Here are their payments listed, so far:

Organization Amount Paid
Comm. to Stop the Billion Tax Hike ,500
Californians Against Higher Taxes,No on 87 ,000
PG&E Corporation A ,000
Fair Public Policy Coalition ,000

You can look these up on this page:

The first group is Philip Morris and the tobacco business. The second is the oil companies. The third is the SF power company. The fourth is the Bay Meadows horse race track, and others. (That's weird!)

The racetrack PAC is funded by Hollywood Park, Bay Meadows, and Los Alamitos. That contribution looked weird, so I looked on their page, and found something really interesting: their late contributions. I kind of assumed it would be any politician who might support gambling.

Lo and behold, Judy Chu, John Chiang, Phil Angelides, Deborah Bowen, Bill Lockyer, and John Garamendi got money from the tracks.  They all got on that flyer.  But Cruz Bustamante was not listed there...

So, is this flyer also a stealth flyer for the racetracks? WEIRD.

More confusing than MySpace...

Looking up who got anti-prop 86 money was difficult. Money was shifted between different organizations, and there were no concrete links (via ID numbers) between the committee and the recipients of the money. It was like a big money laundering operation.

The anti-prop 87 money was the same thing. (They *do* give a lot to the Republicans, though.)

So, I never really discovered if these props ever donated to the candidates on the flyer.  Maybe another time.

I was also curious about the pro-87 side.  A digression follows.

Because, I'm also pro-87.  I don't like their ads, but, totally agree with the idea of taxing our existing energy resource, oil, to develop future energy resources like wind and solar, and conservation efforts.  I sort-of support converting to natural gas, though that's just to reduce pollution.

Two big funders are Stephen and Peter Bing, whose surname probably sounds familiar, because they paid for the Bing theater at the LACMA.  They're grandsons of a real estate magnate, and Stephen is a Hollywood media mogul of films I've never seen. Another pair of big funders are Vinod Khosla and Stepehn Doerr, of Kleiner Perkins, a venture capitalist fund.  (I think I worked for a KP-funded company once.)

Khosla was a Sun Computers engineer and exec, and is a huge ethanol proponent. Here's a video where he pushes ethanol. He's probably got some investments in biotech and agriculture that will produce ethanol.  (He probably doesn't care about his fellow South Asians who might suffer some more racism because of the racist "no more foreign oil" ads.)

Doerr was an Intel engineer and exec, and one of the KP bigshots. The last place I saw his name was on the prop 88 backers.  

(Prop 88 is a parcel tax that's being opposed by both the landlords and the teachers unions, two groups that rarely ever agree on anything.  I tried to look past the fog of rhetoric, and saw a simple tax that could be good, but was designed to fund charter public schools more than regular public schools.  The rules would lead to more charters getting money, while regular schools would not.  I believe this is why the backers have pulled back on prop 88 ads, and it will probably fail.  They're lucky, because that tax is unfair and it could have blown up in their faces.)

This is a new coalition we have to keep an eye on -- the merger of technology and media.  I've heard this term, New Economy Democrats, and this seems to fit them. They're centrists -- Doerr used to be a Republican, and high tech used to be pretty Republican.  They like Howard Dean.  They like high tech -- former Angelides challenger Steve Westly used to work for eBay, as did the Jeff Skoll founder of Participant Films.  They're middle class, and really like education issues.  I think the politicians they like are Villaraigosa, Dean, Bill Clinton, and other centrists.  You gotta watch out about hitching your progressive wagon onto these moderates.  It can lead to heartache.

Right wing demagogues like to say, about some liberals, "these people aren't liberals, they're leftists".  For these New Economy Democrats, all I can say is, "these people aren't leftists, they're liberals."  They might not even be that.

My recommends from this article:

Yes on 86
Yes on 87
No on 88
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The big ads

by johnk Monday, Nov. 06, 2006 at 9:18 PM

The big ads...
back1.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x782

The back of the flyer, with the funders marked.

Report this post as:

The clue

by johnk Monday, Nov. 06, 2006 at 9:18 PM

The clue...
notice.jpg, image/jpeg, 386x249

The first clue to find the money trail

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
correction - John Doerr, not Stephen. johnk Tuesday, Nov. 07, 2006 at 1:55 AM

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