(reposted from a Daily Kos entry at the suggestion of a commenter there, modified by the author a bit.)
In the “non partisan” race for Monterey County’s District 4 Supervisor — a key swing vote between slow-growth and pro-development agendas — you’d almost think we had two Democrats running. Because one of them, Jane Parker, is a Democrat. And the other, Ila Mettee-McCutchon, appointed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in February to fill the term of the deceased incumbent for all of three months before the election, Republican, is pretending to be a Democrat and making misleading phone calls and distributing misleading campaign literature. Because of the way “non-partisan” offices appear on primary ballots, she’s abetted in this by a ballot that seems to be a primary run-off between two Democrats.
More on the flip side with a link to a picture of the flier.
First off, let’s make it clear: Ila Mettee-McCutchon is a Republican. You won’t find that fact on her website. She was appointed to her post by Arnold (Republican) Schwarzenegger to fill out a term left open by the decease of the incumbent – just three months before the election. More on this in a bit.
We have seven County Supervisors here, selected in “non-partisan” elections. However, there’s a big Democratic registration advantage in the
countydistrict. Somehow, the elections for these Supervisors get piggybacked into our primary ballots under the theory they’re non-partisan, and maybe it doesn’t matter. But if you get a Republican primary ballot, it lists both candidates, and you get a Democratic primary ballot, it lists both candidates. If you didn’t know any better, you might think you were voting in a primary election for two candidates of the same party. Despite the fact there are real serious differences in party affiliations for these ‘non partisan’ positions, voters see the candidates for these jobs as if they were both members of their own party.
County Supervisor matters a lot here. Our County budget is almost a billion dollars. The board is split right now evenly between pro-developer and slow-growth advocates.This particular Supervisor position will be the tie-breaker. County Supervisors in the past have tried to do end-arounds on the voters who clearly voted for the slow-growth approach on multiple voter initiatives through a combination of trickery (illegally competing ballot initiatives) and outright rejection of the voters’ will (by voting for pro-developer county plans right after the voters had rejected them). Whoever wins this election is going to be the decision-maker about the land use pattern for our county, home to both important agricultural areas and some of the most spectacular coastal wilderness in the country, for decades.
The voters in this area are seriously pro-environment. Some may be objecting to growth as NIMBYs, some for environmental reasons, some because they see controlled growth as a philosophy for sustainability. If the voters’ will were adequately represented in the County Supervisors, the debate would be on which slow growth plan to take, not whether we should be chewing up more farm land for subdivisions.
Ila Mettee-McCutchon, Republican, in a “non-partisan” election, is supported by the business and growth interests that favor unrestricted growth. As mentioned earlier, these include prominent vineyard owners, agribusiness interests, developers, and of course the usual banes of California politics, Taxpayers’ “Rights” associations (the same people trying to eliminate environmental regulations and rent control in the guise of eminent domain reform.)
I got a phone call the other day from a worker for the Mettee-McCutchon campaign. Her spiel said she was a “democratic” leader running for “re-election” and she needed my vote in the “primary”. I wasn’t sure I heard her right,so I asked her to repeat it. She said it again. I asked her how somebody appointed by the Governor a few months ago could be running for ‘re-” election when she had never been elected before. The caller repeated her spiel. I asked her whether she was a volunteer or was a paid caller and where she was calling from; the Caller ID said simply, “Monterey County Election”. She said she didn’t have to tell me that. I told her she sure did if she wanted to get a vote. She hung up on me.
Today I got a flier from the Mettee-McCutchon campaign. It reads, “In the tradition of great leadership….Monterey County 4th district Democratic Leaders Endorse Ila Mettee-McCutchon for Supervisor.” It shows a picture of Col. Mettee-McCutchon shaking hands with Bill Clinton back when she was garrison commander of one of the local army institutions in the mid-90s. The “endorsements” inclue only three current elected officials, whose “Democratic” credentials are spotty.
Link to image is here:
On the reverse, it reads “Join these fine Monterey County Democratic Leaders and Organizatiosn by voting for Ila Mettee-McCutchon for Supervisor, June 3, 2008.” The “Democratic” organizatios it lists aren’t democratic organizations: the best she can pull up are four law enforcement groups and one (only one) of the firefighters’ unions.
NOWHERE ON THIS FLIER DOES IT MENTION HER REPUBLICAN ENDORSEMENTS. Nor, for example, that she wanted to censor rap on the usual grounds (wouldn’t allow Snoop Doggy Dogg to appear due to the bad bad influence music has on our youth), or the $70 million in tax breaks she sought for a developer as soon as she was appointed to office. You can read more about the differences between the two candidates here.
I have no objections to politicians who want to run on a pro-growth platform. Make your case. Frankly I have some of my own objections to extremism in the slow-growth camp, and see developing new housing as a big issue in this county, so it’s not like I myself am immune to persuasion about a smart growth plan.
But I find a candidate who can’t put forth her actual views in campaign fliers, who makes it appear as if she’s a Democrat by mentioning “Democratic Leadership” three times on a campaign flier illustrated with a picture of President Clinton, and who employs misleading and apparently-paid phone workers to deliver inaccurate campaign messages, completely unqualified for office, however. I can’t trust an elected official to be honest in office if she’s not even honest about her political stripes and supporters.
Beware your own wolves trying desperately to find wool coats. I just hope we have enough savvy voters here to ignore the old switcheroo they’re trying to pull here. Please help me spread the word by Rec’ing this diary, and forward it to any Monterey County voters you might happen to know.
I’ve written to the Monterey County Herald (which endorsed Mettee-McCutchon), we’ll see if they publish it.