ELECTION '12//ASSEMBLY 18
May 28, 2012 | Voters in Oakland and its neighbors in the 18th Assembly District has been inundated in recent weeks with uncommonly negative campaign mailers against candidate Joel Young, but who is paying for these pieces and who may they be secretly attempting to help another candidate in the final throes of the June primary?
California Alliance, a state independent expenditure committee, that further describes itself as "a coalition of consumer attorneys and conservationists" is behind the successive mailers aiming to tell voters of Young's recent bad behavior. With the gavel of justice slamming down, as depicted in one potent mailer, it simply reads, "Joel Young. Two restraining orders. In just the last year."
Little is known about the group, which lists its mailing address in Southern California, but it is clear they believe a large outpouring of unrelegated cash will make a huge difference in the 18th Assembly District. California Alliance's expenditures in opposition to Young, currently (as of May 25) at $72, 663, is the seventh largest outlay of outside money against any candidate by one group in the entire state this primary season. These committees cannot coordinate with candidates, but, they invariably share a common interest and political goal.
Although, it cannot be proved for certain, most local political observers believe the barrage of negative mailers against Young is intended to support his opponent, Abel Guillen. In tandem, there is a growing sense of inevitability over Rob Bonta's ability to finish first in next week's June, leaving the race for second between Young and Guillen. By many indications, primarily the lack of tough campaigning rhetoric by Young and Guillen against Bonta, gives clues to the current pecking order going into next week's primary.
Independent Expenditure Committee tend to seek the biggest bang for the bucks and mostly pour money into races where they believe they can tip the balances to their preferred candidate. Despite ample reasons for voters to bypass Young, he still is perceived to maintain an advantage among Oaklanders, in general, and more specifically, black voters.
When it comes to whom the group supports, it is clearly Guillen. But for more proof, just look at which labor union has given money to California Alliance in the past. When it comes to playing hardball politics, nobody in this state beats the California Nurses Association. The labor union has supported the committee in the past and endorsed Guillen last year in this race. It also contributed $7,800 to Guillen's campaign--the legal limit for this primary season.
The vociferousness of outside groups hoping to defeat Young is not surprising. One consultant based in Sacramento said news of Young being stripped of the SEIU's all-important endorsement last Februrary raised many eyebrows among labor leaders in the capitol and indicated doubt that he could be trusted. In fact, the allegations of domestic violence last year against Young paled in comparison, they said, to the grave misstep of betraying his union brothers and sisters. Presently, the fruits of that betrayal is manifesting in your mailbox.