LA Times Scorches Alejo. The Santa Cruz Sentinel-Damage Control?
LA TIMES 11/12/13): Adding to the air of scandal(regarding former state Senate Leader Democrat Dean Florez being fined) at the Capitol, state Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) agreed to repay $21,000 in excess campaign contributions to a group called Voters for a New California. The group was coordinating its activities with Alejo's campaign when by law it should have operated independently, according to documents released Monday.
[Definition of Yellow Journalism: “In short, is biased opinion masquerading as objective fact.”
Definition of Wrong Doing: “Illegal or dishonest behavior”]
The Santa Cruz Sentinel article by reporter Donna Jones of April 17, 2013 regarding Assemblyman Luis Alejo accepting illegal campaign contributions lacked critical information, which was easily accessible to Jones, in what seems an obvious attempt to protect Alejo’s reputation. The headline on the article was “State watchdog finds Luis Alejo campaign manager violated finance rules”. In it Jones wrote: “Alejo, who is not accused of wrong-doing, said he had "no knowledge" of the actions taken by Voters for a New California.” The “watchdog” reporter Jones derogatorily refers to is the State of California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
The FPPC’s Enforcement Division had determined that Joaquin Ross, Alejo’s campaign manager at the time, was also the principal officer for the Committee of Voters For a New California which paid for 3 mass mailings costing $28,892.00 in support for Alejo’s Assembly candidacy. And, that at the same time, Assemblyman Tony Mendoza’s Chief of Staff, Minnie Santillan, also assisted in the operations of Voters For a New California. As the result of Ross’s dual role when he funneled the cost for Alejo’s mailers from his own Committee, the FPPC determined that the $28,892 was an illegal contribution. The Enforcement Division also reported that: “On April 8, 2010, Luis Alejo stated in an email to Joaquin Ross, ‘I just got a text from Tony Mendoza that he hears IEs (independent expenditures) will drop for Janet (Barnes who was running against him) and some for me. He states in his text that I need many more good pictures on the website ASAP!!”.
Now, ask yourself:
- Why didn’t Donna Jones write about this section of the Investigative Report?
- Why didn’t Assemblyman Luis Alejo offer to return the money this past April when he found that his campaign manager violated campaign rules instead of waiting for a so-called “recommendation”?
This past Wednesday (11-06-13) under Santa Cruz Sentinel’s story headline: Assemblyman Luis Alejo returns campaign contribution, reporter Donna Jones once again writes that “The California Fair Political Practices Commission did not accuse Alejo of wrongdoing” and that “Alejo said he followed through with the political watchdog's recommendation that he give back the money”. Oh really? So, Assemblyman Alejo thought it was ok to keep the money until it was “recommended” by the FPPC to return it, although he was fully cognizant that his former campaign manager was fined for providing him an illegal contribution 7 months earlier? Assemblyman Alejo, you actually passed the Ethics test section of the California State Bar?
Additionally, and not surprisingly, Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter Donna Jones didn’t write about the October 28, 2013 FPPC Memo from their Chief of Enforcement which stated: “The Enforcement Division notified Assembly Alejo of his duty to “pay down” the over-the-limit portion of the contribution from Voters for a New California by making payment to Voters for a New California in the amount of $21,092. On October 4, 2013, the Enforcement Division received proof of payment in this regard from Assemblyman Alejo.” Now, does that sound like a “recommendation” ass Alejo claims and ass Jones reported, or does it sound like an Order because he violated FPPC regulations?
Further, there was also no mention in Jones article of the FPPC’s legal action (Stipulation) against Alejo’s former campaign manager, Joaquin Ross, which warned Ross if he failed to pay the $6,500 fine, a “full evidentiary hearing” would occur. I do not doubt that the Latino Caucus and/or Alejo would want to entertain a “full evidentiary hearing”.
Adding salt to our city’s wound, Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter Donna Jones, who does not live in Watsonville, doesn’t just seem to protect favorite politicos; it also seems she campaigns for them as well. And in my opinion she is getting slick in her old age. Did any of you notice how she used a bait and switch type headline to seemingly campaign for former police chief Terry Medina in his quest for County Supervisor? Take a look at the recent Sentinel article by Jones (11/7/2013) with the headline- “Police Chief to return to work” which would lead one to believe that her story is focused on Chief of Police Manny Solano’s return after a bout with cancer. From what I gather she didn’t even interview Chief Solano for the story. Maybe that is why she only wrote approximately 130 words about Chief Solano, but in contrast wrote over twice as much (approximately 300 words) about Terry Medina running for County Supervisor in the same article. Gee, I hope for Ms. Jones’ sake that Tony Medina (er..I mean Terri…I get his politics and Campos’ confused) doesn’t make any sudden stops between now and next November. Well maybe not…and instead maybe I should buy Handi-Wipes stock- I could make a million?