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"
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
How did she end up on the opposition's
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
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
If the VRA's repealed, and ballot materials go English-only,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
Who is that? I never heard of them myself. It's located at http://maps.google.com/maps?q=38+Homestead+Street,+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
as the address of Ronald Jin, treasurer of all these election
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:
ASIAN FAMILIES NETWORK
That's page has PDFs of their filings. Here are their payments
listed, so far:
to Stop the Billion Tax Hike
Against Higher Taxes,No on 87
|PG&E Corporation A
Public Policy Coalition
You can look these up on this page: http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/
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?
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
Khosla was a Sun Computers engineer and exec, and is a huge ethanol
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
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
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
Yes on 86
Yes on 87
No on 88