Opinion » Shredder

Party! Party! Party!


Well let’s just all stop pretending that the SLO Board of Supervisors races—the election’s Tuesday June 3—is a nonpartisan affair. We’ll make a day of the official change, call it Parti Gras, and get the SLO Police to shut us down.

I mean, if Bo Derek hasn’t already said it, I will: Supervisor Jerry Lenthall and candidate Debbie Arnold are Republicans, and they’re running with the party’s blessing and help.

According to their campaign finance papers, the Republican Party of SLO performed a “tracking poll” for Arnold, valued at $3,125, and it also did the same thing for Lenthall. If you were the Republican Party, would you do that for someone whom you were convinced was “nonpartisan”?

The party has flat out endorsed Lenthall and its chairman, Assessor Tom Bordonaro, just gave him $1,500 the other day. And the Lincoln Club—as in party of Lincoln—is one of the bigger donors to both candidates. And why else would that Republican babestress, Bo Derek, stop by Lenthall’s way for a $1,000-a-table fundraiser? Precisely what else might they have in common?

Party! Party! Party!

This is the part of the column where I’m supposed to say “but the other side does it too,” except pretty much they don’t seem to as much.

It’s true that Democrats kick money to their favorite candidates too—the Atascadero Democratic Club gave money to both candidate Adam Hill and Supervisor Jim Patterson—but as far as I can tell their campaigns are not intertwined with the party mechanisms in the way you see with Arnold and Lenthall.

Speaking of which, you should see the difference in the campaign warchests those two Republican candidates have. Lenthall has pretty much blown his wad, having nothing but lint and a few hundred dollars in his bank account as of May 17, the date of the last report. Arnold, meanwhile, was armed to the pony tail, with $112,000 left to spend in the final weeks!

You could probably get a good idea about how she would spend that based on how she’s spent past funds, but it was difficult to say exactly how she’d been spending past funds. Most of her spending went to an out-of-area consultancy group and tens of thousands of dollars of the spending was classified merely as “agent reimbursement.” That’s a nice way of getting around the requirement that a candidate tell the people, if only in a general way, how their campaign funds get spent. Other campaigns classify their spending into categories such as “literature” or “radio ads” or “polling and surveys,” but much of Arnold’s payments are reimbursements for spending that is never classified at all.

I’m no expert on letter of the law, but that doesn’t smell like the spirit.

Speaking of the spirit of things, and Republicans, how about Abel Maldonado’s latest gimmick? I’m not talking about his latest bad idea for a law; I’m talking about his wink-wink, nudge-nudge, plan to run as a Republican and a Democrat this fall. Although he’ll already be on the Republican ballot—and he doesn’t have any Democratic opponents running against him—he qualified himself to be a write-in candidate on the Democratic primary ballot. If he gets enough write-in votes, he’ll be listed as both the Republican and Democratic candidate on the printed November ballot. Please, Abel, spare the gimmicks. Find something else to occupy your mind because you’re getting silly. Democrats didn’t find anybody to run against him because he’s fairly popular, but moves like this could change that for next time.

Wait, I’ve got one more Lenthall item left: According to his website, on Thursday, May 29, the day this paper comes out, Lenthall was planning to spend lunch on Cal Poly’s campus “registering voters and giving out free hamburgers and sodas to students.”

Well those certainly all sound like nice things, but the deadline for registering voters for this election hit about two weeks ago. Somebody should tell him (but be smart and wait until after you’ve gotten your free grub).

And I’ve got one more Arnold thing too: If you’re at all wondering why all that big builder money finds its way into her campaign, consider that as far as I can find, she’s the only person running for local government who actually supports Proposition 98, the one that would eliminate rent control, which in San Luis Obispo County means eliminate rent control from mobile home parks.

As is usual with these things, the folks trying to pass the proposition make it look like something else, in this case they make it look like it’s intended to protect property rights from local government use of eminent domain.

Except there’s another proposition on the ballot that does this, cleanly, and without driving all the little old men and women out of the rent-controlled senior communities. Proposition 99 does effectively the same job. Haven’t heard much about that one? That’s because there isn’t big money in protecting property rights. But there’s plenty of money in eliminating rent control.

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