Tag Archives: Michael Colburno

Carole Migden Gets Billboards from Clear Channel

Our own paulhogarth broke this story last week, but let me take the liberty of building on his writings.  Here is more info and a few pretty pictures below the fold.

Over the past few weeks Clear Channel owned billboards started popping up in the district featuring a picture of Migden and the slogan “Carole Migden Leading California’s Campaign Against the War”.  The picture and color scheme is copied right off of Migden’s official campaign website.  One would think that she paid for the ads.  If that were the case there would be a disclaimer “paid for by friends of Carole Migden”.  But no, there is nothing there.  That means that Clear Channel is paying for the billboards.  But why?

Well, it turns out that Migden’s former Chief of Staff Michael Colubruno is now Clear Channel Outdoor’s VP for Government Affairs.  Ironically, his very first blog post called Migden his favorite politician and featured an actual billboard from a previous campaign.  Colubruno is perhaps best known for the “kiddie porn” scandal that made the jump from the blogs to all of the local newspapers.  Midget finally had to tell him to knock it off.  But the two are still close.  We spotted him staffing Migden at the CDP convention in April, following her from caucus to caucus whispering in her ear. (click the picture for a bigger size)

One can assume that Colubruno helped hook her up with the free advertising.  The billboards really should be considered an in-kind contribution and I believe it is something the FPPC should consider investigating.  This is clearly political communication.

Hogarth ties the billboards appearance to the current efforts of Clear Channel Outdoor to win a lucrative Muni contract for bus stops advertising.  This seems designed to gain her support for the company winning the contract.

The message on the war is fairly ironic, considering she is a state legislator.  Hogarth writes:

But Clear Channel isn’t waiting for the Muni contract to help her campaign. Last week, the company set up huge billboards throughout the district, proclaiming that Migden is “leading California’s campaign against the War.” Migden has always opposed the War in Iraq, but to say that she has led California’s campaign demeans members of Congress like Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey who represent California and have led the charge since Day One. Carole Migden may have authored a resolution in the State Senate last January to oppose George Bush’s escalation. But ironically, it was her opponent, Mark Leno, who sponsored the very first resolution in the nation against the Iraq War – in October 2002.

And janinsafran chimes in:

Last week I was walking down Union Street when I noticed the billboard above. I have to admit I laughed out loud. Carole Migden has been a fixture of San Francisco politics for twenty-five years — and she never did anything so lacking in class as associate with the rabble in the antiwar movement. She’s long been known as a pol who “doesn’t do rallies.” Now she’s being challenged for her State Senate seat by Assemblyman Mark Leno and all of a sudden she claims to be out in front of the antiwar effort? What a crock!

For me the real issue is the potential illegality of the billboards.  Clear Channel is one of the country’s most despised companies.  If they want to use their properties for political lobbying, then they need to run it through an independent expenditure campaign.  They would need to get permission from Migden to use her photograph etc. etc.  Right now this looks like an official Migden billboard, when it is her former Chief of Staff running a campaign to boost her re-election prospects and hopefully get her support for a big city contract.  That stinks, to put it mildly.