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Tom Cushing, what are your thoughts on local campaigns?

Original post made by [removed], another community, on Jan 1, 2012

For your reference: “Being an effective Supervisor requires being a team player and having the skills to effectively motivate your fellow Supes in advocacy efforts for your constituents in the home district” taken from “Posted by Whoville, a resident of another community, on Dec 30, 2011 at 10:54 am” Web Link

Dear Mr. Tom Cushing,

Among the positives that appear on the Danville Express are your columns discussing real political and economic considerations that are basis for voters’ consideration of candidates. Let me invite you to come closer to home and examine political campaigns and the roles of county supervisors as part of voters’ methods of deciding how they will vote.

In the reference above, the author describes advocacy by individual supervisors in partnership with other supervisors to fulfill the will and interests of district’s communities and neighborhoods. But does that exist in Contra Costa politics? Using county redistricting as a recent example, there is significant evidence that three supervisors in cooperation with our state politicians privately decided district boundaries to the benefit of their political party, that party’s replacement candidate in District 2 and to control of the political future of the district 3 supervisor. Using the history of District 3 in the past decade to present, a well-documented 2001 redistricting removed a popular supervisor when district boundaries were politically decided and the same politician engineered the district 2 and 3 result in 2011.

With those actions as examples, let me ask for your thoughts on campaigns. Traditionally a political consortium, most recently meeting at Tom Power’s home to raise money for Mary Piepho, has selected our candidates and intimidated opposition from running or mounted ugly campaigns to discredit such opponents. The result easily documented via the elections department is a large number of voters simply skipped voting for supervisor and let a very small minority chose the winner. Most notably, Mary Piepho won re-election in 2008 with just 22% of eligible voters.

Reviewing social media impact in national, state and local elections in 2010, there is a growing impact by groups that campaign solely in cyberspace. In 2009, Alamo’s incorporation election was decided by social media and e-exchange interactions by a majority of voters in that community. In Contra Costa today, neighborhoods and communities have major portions of their voters e-communicating without any result in public media features and stories. The potential is a majority of voters can quite privately decide their votes and impact election results without any public campaign impact.
Thus, let me suggest that you consider “He (Joel Keller) is WAY down in fundraising. He is WAY behind in endorsements. He has no campaign infrastructure to speak of” as suggested by “Posted by P.P.P, a resident of another community, on Dec 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm.” If social media campaigns among a majority of voters, quite similar to the Alaska Senate Race of 2010, can deliver a majority vote for a candidate, why would fundraising, endorsements and a campaign infrastructure be needed? Further, if the endorsements are the political consortium that a majority of voters see as not representative of their will and interests, aren’t those endorsements a detriment to such public campaigns?

You are a respected columnist and it would be very interesting to review your positions on local campaigns and politics.

CDSI Research Fellowship, [email protected]


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