Nicholas Wilson: Mudslinging in Mendo

[This is a pure and simple choice between supporting a candidate, Wendy Roberts, who believes that the way out, locally, of our world-wide economic disaster is more of the same trickle-down philosophy that got us into it: develop our coast and exploit/export our resources for the rich and privileged to live here and visit here so we can grovel at their feet for small pieces of their growing largess — ho hum been there done that; versus supporting Dan Hamburg who understands that the required transition to a long-term, sustainable economy means we first work together husbanding and developing our local resources for those who live here: local food, local energy, locally-owned businesses. Only after that has been secured can we consider carefully our trade and economic relationships with our surrounding communities. The tactics and support team used by candidates reveal their character and ambitions… and our future. Vote for Dan! ~DS]

Little River, 5th District

Open Letter to the Editor, Press Democrat

Friday’s “Mudslinging in Mendocino” [see below] said: “After avoiding confrontation for months, candidate Wendy Roberts has aimed both barrels at her opponent, Dan Hamburg….”

But it’s outrageously false that Roberts just started attacking Hamburg. Hers is the dirtiest campaign I’ve seen in 40 years here, no surprise since her political consultant’s website says the owner was regional director of the Republican National Committee. Strange choice for one calling herself a liberal environmentalist.

It appears Karl Rove is running Roberts’ campaign. For months Roberts’ campaign has used surrogates to smear Hamburg in letters to the editor and local community email lists, often using false names not in the phone book or voter lists, sniping from throwaway email addresses at Gmail or Yahoo, demonizing Hamburg as a tax-evading pot grower and smoker, a cheater, quitter, religious cultist, no-growth obstructionist, and hypocrite. And that’s only the nicer ones.

Roberts says she’s not responsible for those attacks, but she compiled them into a desperate, last-minute smear ad in newspapers and mailers. Outsider developers and right-wingers gave her a flood of money to buy a supervisor who will let them privatize the Mendocino Coast.

Roberts previously said she was adamantly opposed to running a dirt-throwing campaign, but said she was forced to change her tactics.

“I think this needed to happen. They have told so many horrendous lies about me,”

Ms. Roberts’ definition of a lie must be stating any of the inconvenient truths that debunk the carefully crafted image contrived for her by Delphi Associates.

Ms. Roberts has previously posted to the lists that I have told outrageous lies about her. Yet she has failed to list even one single example in response to my challenge to her to do so.

This is just further proof, if any were needed, that she is not temperamentally suited to the job of supervisor, because being able to handle criticism is an essential part of the job.

If she keeps up this whining, she will earn her new nickname: “Whiny Roberts.”

She’s a classic wolf in sheep’s clothing. Don’t be fooled. Vote Hamburg!

For convenient reference, with bold face emphasis added and source link at end:

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Mudslinging in Mendocino supes race

Wendy Roberts accuses opponent Dan Hamburg with smoking pot, evading taxes


Published: Friday, October 29, 2010 at 5:32 p.m.

Last minute allegations of tax skirting and marijuana intoxication have been lobbed in a bitter race for Mendocino County 5th District Supervisor.

After avoiding confrontation for months, candidate Wendy Roberts has aimed both barrels at her opponent, Dan Hamburg, a former supervisor and congressman.

In mailers and interviews, Roberts raised questions about a cabin Hamburg started building without permits and his current status as a medical marijuana grower and user.

“I don’t think anyone who’s using alcohol or marijuana is at the top of their game,” Roberts said Thursday.

Many of the allegations against Hamburg first surfaced in the early 1990s, when he and Frank Riggs battled for a congressional seat. Others come from statements in Hamburg’s autobiography, which was published online.

Hamburg said he smokes pot about twice a week for a medical condition he has declined to disclose. He said it won’t interfere with his ability to be an effective supervisor.

“Since I have never, nor would I ever, use marijuana on the job, I don’t think this should be a concern,” he said.

Roberts’ latest campaign mailer also accuses Hamburg of failing to pay taxes on the medical marijuana he grows.

Hamburg, his wife and his daughter last year grew 25 marijuana plants at their Boonville Road home, he said.

Hamburg said he does not profit from the marijuana he grows.

“What medical marijuana earnings? Where’s the beef?” he said. “Our medical marijuana is for the use of our family.”

Hamburg said he’s financially supported by his $4,200 a month job as executive director of the non-profit Voice of the Environment.

In a campaign flier that hit mailboxes this week, Roberts also notes that Hamburg began building a small cabin on his property before getting permits. He is now obtaining permits for the unfinished structure through the county’s amnesty program.

Hamburg said he’s no tax evader. He said he already contributes almost $5,000 a year to the county’s tax coffers and will be paying a little more when the cabin is complete.

Roberts previously said she was adamantly opposed to running a dirt-throwing campaign, but said she was forced to change her tactics.

“I think this needed to happen. They have told so many horrendous lies about me,” she said of Hamburg supporters. She said many of the allegations were in online postings.

But she has been upset since the outset of the campaign about being labeled pro development because she is being financially and otherwise supported by pro-development interests, both local and statewide.

Roberts is a registered Democrat and maintains that she is a liberal, jobs friendly environmentalist.

Hamburg said it’s unfortunate that Roberts is attacking him just before the election, but said he’s not surprised.

“I just think it shows a lot of cowardice,” he said.

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Is there some hope for mutual respect and civility in Mendocino County elections too? We seem to have reached a new low in the current election, especially in the fifth district. Some candidates  and their supporters don’t seem to realize that two wrongs don’t make a right.

Maynard vs. Norman: No name-calling here

One Comment

This year’s Fifth District race has captured the public imagination with its incivility – or at least that’s the story. But I’m not sure it’s really much worse than the recall effort launched against Dan in the early 80s. And I have the sad feeling that after the elections are over, no matter who takes the prize, we’ll fall back into the usual pattern of partisanship and paralysis that generally characterizes politics at the county level. Perhaps things are just not bad enough yet.

Meanwhile, our local economy rests on the exploitation of a thriving black market, and our railroad rusts unused under the autumn skies.