Wendy Roberts’ Dirty Tricks Campaign

Mendocino County Listservs

The Press Democrat article ended with these two sentences: “Hamburg is a Green Party member who generally is embraced by the county’s liberal, no-growth and alternative living crowd. Roberts is a democrat who claims liberal credentials, but her supporters include some of the county’s staunchest conservatives.” This goes to the heart of the issue of who is supporting Wendy Roberts and why.  Apparently more than a few major Roberts supporters don’t live in the Fifth District: e.g. Jared Carter, a right-wing lawyer who has made a decades long career of serving every destructive corporate entity with interests in the county. Clearly their agenda is to get a third pro-“development” vote on the Board of Supervisors who will reliably support whatever the big money interests want.  They are willing to invest big bucks in Wendy, betting that their investment will be small compared to the big payback they anticipate.

The FPPC says: “Easily accessible and transparent disclosure of political information lies at the heart of any democracy.” I fully agree with that statement, so I call for Wendy Roberts to make a complete, easily accessible and transparent disclosure of who her political backers are, and exactly how and how much they are helping her…

Ms. Roberts posted a personal and candid email reply to Shirley Freriks on the Little River community listserv today (Thursday).  I doubt she would have intentionally posted some of this information publicly.  But post it she did, and here’s exactly what she said, followed by my additional comments:

(bold face and color emphasis added)

From: “Wendy Roberts” <wendy@mcn.org>

To: “‘Community Little River'” Subject: Re: [MCN-Littleriver]- Candidates Forum thoughts on Econmic recovery and broadband. Thanks for detailed comments on Tuesday’s forum. I felt good about it, but I agree that my position on economic development could be stronger. I keep bucking the problem that many voters here flatly don’t want it. When I come on strong on the ED side of things, I get attacked for being anti-environment.  It’s quite a conundrum.

Dan’s almost exclusive emphasis on growing our own food and energy is one of the things that makes me work harder to get elected. As a supervisor, he blocked John Parducci’s wine industry conference center that could have put Mendocino County on the map as a producer of fine wines…instead of as a source of grapes for Sonoma County (the low profit end of the business).  He blocked a sewer line to what is now Mendocino College, seeing no need for such development.  In Congress, he got a zero rating on job creation by the Better Business Bureau. I can and will beef up the emphasis on Broadband, but polling indicates that Dan is right that the “growing on our own strengths” is the winning argument here.  The broader vision just doesn’t resonate and the idea of outside capital puts a lot of folks on the brink of hyperventilation:):) It’s all quite a wild ride. W

So, according to Wendy, it’s a “problem” that the voters here don’t want what she’s for, which is big time economic “development.”  She’s “working harder to get elected”  because she can’t stand Hamburg’s “emphasis on growing our own food and energy.” Roberts’ reference to opinion polling on the issues in her campaign is yet another sign that she has major, professional, out-of-county campaign support, the kind of support that doesn’t come cheap.  Who’s paying for that, and how much?  She clearly regrets that her “broader vision” about economic “development” doesn’t resonate with the voters. But she will tailor her campaign positions —  based on costly professional opinion polling — so she can tell the voters what they want to hear and avoid revealing her views that they don’t like. Until she is elected, that is, and then she would act according to her high opinion of the value of “outside capital.”

Roberts’ campaign so far looks and smells like a Karl Rove wannabee is running things, complete with anonymous smear attacks on Hamburg posted to the community email lists under false names from untraceable gmail.com email addresses.

Last month Hamburg was sued in small claims court by a homeless guy whom he had allowed to live on his land.  The lawsuit was ballyhooed in the media and on these email lists.  The guy suing had his legal costs, including a lawyer, paid for by anonymous entities, according to media reports.  Who paid for that Ms. Roberts, and how much was that help worth? The Roberts forces made much of the fact that Hamburg settled the suit, as though that were tantamount to an admission of fault.  They can try to get away with that only because the vast majority of people know nothing about lawsuits.  The vast majority — over 95 percent — of civil lawsuits are settled before trial.  It doesn’t matter if the suit is baseless, it’s just far too expensive in financial, time and emotional costs to pursue litigation to a final resolution in the courts. If all lawsuits went to trial, there wouldn’t be enough judges or courtrooms to hear them all, and the cost to the public would be enormous.

Today, Thursday, brought the latest Rovian dirty trick, the accusations about campaign finance reporting omissions or inaccuracies.  The judge who filed the FPPC complaint for Roberts works as a private judge for a mediation firm that charges up to $10,000 a day for its services, according to media reports.  He was a Republican (Deukmejian) appointee to the state courts until he resigned to take a much better-paying job with the private mediation firm that caters to corporate clients like credit card companies and Wall Street firms. Of course he also receives a handsome retirement income from the state’s taxpayers  His office is in Los Angeles. He’s either being paid for his services to Wendy, or he’s donating them as an in-kind campaign contribution.  I’m sure we’ll find out how much he’s worth from Roberts’ campaign financial reports — after the election.  Meanwhile, people should remember that there are nothing more than allegations against Hamburg at this point.  The FPPC website states: “At this time the Commission has not made any determination about the validity of the allegations made, or about the culpability, if any, of the persons identified below. “

I expect this will not be the last dirty trick pulled by the Roberts campaign.  After all, there’s plenty of money to pay for stealthy operations, just like the in the statewide and national elections.

MS. ROBERTS! I challenge you to give a full, immediate disclosure of who’s backing you, and how much they’re giving you, including non-cash services. After all, as the Fair Political Practices Commission said: “Easily accessible and transparent disclosure of political information lies at the heart of any democracy.  Full and open disclosure of campaign finance information is a critical safeguard for preserving that democracy.”

And while you’re at it, I challenge you to give an honest, full and detailed disclosure of your actual views on economic development, coastal and historic preservation, and protection of the commons, without cloaking your views based on opinion polling in your effort to get elected.

It’s obvious that the likes of the California Real Estate Political Action Committee, Jared Carter, Esq., arch-conservative John Mayfield, the Farm Bureau, the Employers’ Council aren’t supporting you because of your progressive liberal democrat views. For that matter the county Democratic Party isn’t supporting you either. Apparently they don’t buy your liberal disguise either.

Here are a couple of references:

Google search on judge’s name:
< http://www.google.com/search?q=”William+A+Masterson”+judge >Growing Use of Private Judges Raises Questions of Fairness


Also, referring to the Press Democrat article above, another local chimes in:

As usual,  ‘no growth’ and ‘alternative living crowd’ are mentioned in the same breath. This says more about the lack of understanding of the writer than anything. What the ‘alternative living crowd’ is supporting, and why the ‘alternative living crowd’ supports Dan Hamburg is that we DO want growth.  But the growth we want to see is Sustainable Growth. We are Not saying “let’s go live in a cave”. We are saying “Let’s create a vibrant sustainable growth oriented economy that is based on the Precautionary Principle, ie.  if it does harm to the web of life, don’t do it.  If it sustains the web of life and human beings, do it.


In a sense this election is a sort of intelligence test. That should give us pause. Elections in this country have gone against intelligent analysis. So maybe we should do the intelligent thing and get dirty ourselves. Of course, I mean a different sort of dirty, the funny, imaginative sort of dirty that helps people see emotionally what they have trouble thinking through thoroughly.

Some extreme suggestions:

What profession is Wendy pursuing? Politics or the other “P” profession?

Wendy’s position on corporate domination? She likes the missionary one.

Wendy – a darling name for a corporate darling.

Wendy, don’t bother your little head about the environment. The future has been cancelled to promote profits so What You Worry?

And so forth.



    Nice wit, that “Wendy . . . darling”!

    –I general, in political debate, I favor proportionality: one part enjoyable scurrility, 3-4 parts positive position statement.

    If Dan follows that proportional approach, I bet he wins in a (brisk) walk.



Follow the money! Let’s not forget the most important rule of politics . . . really, since conservative campaigns are backed by corporate interests, and as the writer points out — so is the Roberts campaign, it seems to me that we can assume that if elected, Roberts will continue to follow the money, and to the detriment of Mendocino County.

I wrote the above piece as a reply to a coast community email listserv post by Wendy Roberts endorser Barbara Rice. The version posted here is an edited version published without my knowledge. It was truncated by lopping off the introduction, which quoted a selected portion of Ms. Rice’s post, including a quote from a Press Democrat article. Without the first part, it appears I’m jumping in to initiate an attack on Wendy Roberts, when in fact I’m defending Dan Hamburg against an attack by one of Wendy’s endorsers. Just wanted to make that clear.

I attended the League of Women Voters 5th District Candidates Forum Monday night in Mendocino. Dan did very well for himself in front of a packed room. Video of the event will be aired several times on Mendocino Coast TV (MCTV) Comcast cable channel 3, starting this coming Friday evening.