In the final days of the hotly contested California Assembly District 50 race, a bevy of campaign mailers sent to voters are slamming and touting rival candidates Richard Bloom and Betsy Butler. They make for hilarious, if not worrisome, reading.
Themes range from Butler's "courage and integrity" to Bloom's solid environmental record to an accusation that Butler failed to pay property taxes on time to another accusation that Bloom received a failing grade from the Sierra Club.
"Betsy Butler doesn't pay her own bills," reads a mailer sent out and paid for by the Family Farmers Working for a Better California. "No wonder she can't manage Sacramento's budget mess."
An anti-Bloom mailer paid for by the California Democratic Party (see above) reads: "Richard Bloom. A failing record on protecting our coast."
The Sierra Club annually publishes a "report card" on California Coastal Commissioners, who oversee environmental issues. The organization bases scores on how the commissioners' votes lined up with the Sierra Club's political agenda. In 2010, Bloom scored a low 42 percent with the environmental group.
The California Democratic Party took that one step further and equated 42 percent with a "failing" grade. Maybe we missed it, but we didn't see anywhere in Sierra Club literature that said Bloom actually failed. But other commissioners did score much higher.
For Butler's part, the Sierra Club also graded the state legislature, and the assemblywoman scored an 82 percent.
Still, Bloom backers wasted no time in sending out another mailer -- this one paid for by the Cooperative of American Physicians Independent Expenditure Committee. That piece of literature touted that when Bloom was the mayor of Santa Monica, that beachfront city "earned the 2012 Siemens Sustainable Community award. It also declared that Bloom is a "well known as a steward of our environment."
The anti-Butler mailer (see to the right) from the Family Farmers group takes a huge swing at the assemblywoman, saying that Butler "still owes thousands on her 2010 property taxes." It further states that voters "can't depend on Betsy Butler to help fix [California's fiscal mess] -- she didn't even pay her own taxes on time."
The Butler campaign, however, sent out a mailer stating that the "people we trust, trust Betsy Butler." Then there's a list of endorsements: the California Democratic Party, the Sierra Club, Equality California, the California Teachers Association, and others.
If one reads the L.A. Weekly story about CTA's role in killing a sex-pervert bill with the help of Butler, one may reconsider if he or she trusts CTA or Butler.
At our home in Assembly District 50, we received seven pro-Butler mailers, two anti-Bloom mailers, and one anti-Butler mailer in the past couple of weeks.
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Although both Butler and Bloom are Democrats, the state and local Democratic establishment, along with many of its friends, are squarely behind Butler -- and are obviously throwing tons of money at her in the form of campaign mailers.
Butler also has $1.3 million in her campaign war chest compared to Bloom's $507,000.
Such heavy investment in Butler in the last weeks of the campaign season suggests that the Democratic machine is extremely concerned that underdog Bloom may actually win. We haven't seen any polls on the AD 50 race, but one political expert tells us it's a close race.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.