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The Truth about John Russo

Dear Friend:

As you may know, we are strong supporters of John Russo for State
Assembly.  We know that John is the person we need in Sacramento.  We also know John personally and he has been a passionate, outspoken champion for our kids
and for our neighborhoods for nearly 20 years.

The Russo for Assembly campaign is going well.  John has done 75 House
Parties and has knocked on more than one thousand doors.  The campaign is
ready for the final push.  In fact, the Russo campaign has gone so well
that John’s opponents have resorted to distorting John’s record.  WE NEED
YOUR HELP to get the truth out about these mailicious distortions
because, without a response, many people will believe the lies.

Sandre Swanson’s supporters have made two claims against John.  One, that
in 1997 John supported a huge City Council pay increase; and, two, that
in 1997 John supported taking money away from the Kids First program.
Both of these claims are false.

Here are the facts:

1)  At no time during his nearly twelve years of excellent public service
has John ever made a discretionary vote to raise his own salary.  To the
contrary, when the City Council did have power over its own salaries,
John voted against two pay raises and refused to take a raise when he
lost on those motions.(Please see the attached Oakland Tribune column for
the real story.)  As City Attorney, John has no authority over his own
salary and, therefore, had no role in setting the City Attorney’s salary.
The City Attorney salary is determined by the City Charter.
Ironically, given the Swanson’s campaign’ lies, John Russo is the only
elected official in the East Bay to take a voluntary pay cut.  During the
Oakland budget crisis in 2002-03, John took a voluntary paycut that cost
him over $10,000.  He did this to encourage others in the City to give a
little so as to save jobs.  Unfortunatley, not one other City official or
employee followed his generous lead.

2)  John never voted to take money out of the calculated amount for
Kids First set aside.  The calculation was based upon the Charter and the
interpretation of the Charter by the City Attorney’s office and City
Staff. John was not the City Attorney at that time. The irony here is
that John was one of only 3 Councilmembers who supported the 1996
initiative creating the Kids First set aside.  And as City Attorney, John
issued opinions regarding the Kids First calculation that corrected the
earlier interpretation and has resulted in an additional  $1.67 Million
Dollars for the Kids First program. (Please go to the City Attorney’s
website and look under “Notable Cases” to find the truth for yourself.)

So here’s the situation:  Sandre Swanson’s friends from the Sacramento
PACs waited until the last minute and misrepresented John’s position on
two controversial measures.  They then use these distortions to suggest
John is greedy.  This is outrageous.  We need to stop them.  Here’s how:

great power in people who have the truth.  We have a chance here to say
no to negative and misleading campaigns right at our fingertips.  All we
have to do is let our friends know what is really going on.

Thanks for your time, and don’t forget to vote for John Russo for

Howard Neal, former President, Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation
C.J. Hirschfield, Executive Director, Children’s Fairyland*

(*Children’s Fairyland name is used here for identification purposes only)