Guest Blog Entry: Proud JFK Democrat Audra Strickland

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How many of my readers remember this video clip?

Even though the Ventura County Republican Central Committee is outraged a candidate would obscure their party membership on a mailer their candidate Audra Strickland did just that by paying to be on a slate mailer sent to Democratic households that make it look like she is a Democrat. Meanwhile she is sending to Republican households mailers attacking her opponent for not being Republican enough.

Here is the guest blog entry from Democratic Party Activist KK Holland:


Hi Brian,

I got this REALLY interesting and wacky "pay to play" mailer today, with JFK on the front, and a banner saying "take this Democratic voter guide to the polls!" The four candidates with the biggest pictures were on the inside page, and Audra Strickland was one of them--over a big box reading "Democrats" and encouraging me to "vote DEMOCRATIC on Tuesday, June 8." Her name has an asterisk on the opposing page, which the mailer states means "Appearance is paid for and authorized by each candidate and ballot measure which is designated by an * " .

Like everyone, I've gotten a ton of these, but the Strickland campaign involves a Republican central committee going up against one of their own under the premise that Strickland is the real Republican. Strickland's entire campaign is premised on making the race not about nonpartisan, county-level representation, but identity, values and a fight over the legitimacy of who represents real Republican values here in Ventura County. That makes it super problematic for her to resort to this type of cheap trick. While these types of mailers are generally irrelevant to the process, this mailer seems different because of how deeply contradictory and damaging it is to the entire reason for her campaign. If this campaign isn't a litmus test of values and party identity, then there really isn't any reason for Republicans to support her over Parks--and it seems tough for Strickland to continue to make that case with a straight face given the powerful visual imagery she chooses to associate herself with here. Strickland is already contending with allegations of being a career politician looking for the next pay check, having run for three offices in the last six or so months. This really reinforces the meme of a vanity candidacy.

I've attached three of the four pages. If you want the back piece, let me know and I can get it for you.

KK Holland

Thanks for your post KK. If any of my other readers would like to analyze campaign mailers for a guest blog entry send me an email.

35 Comments

They used the same mailer-tactic in Orange County too.
Same picture, etc. Lots of info here.

http://www.theliberaloc.com/2010/06/04/shawn-nelson-a-liberal-talk-about-your-demon-sheep/

It's probably designated only for DTSs and independents. It's unlikely that few Repubs will know about it unless the mailer's exposed to them.

I know they aren't sending it to Republicans on purpose. I am not sure about DTS households but they are sending it to Democratic voters.

GS, thanks for reading and commenting on my blog. I know I have said it before but I appreciate your input.

KK, can you provide the return address and the name/initials in the stamp area. I suspect this might be a Jim Lacy/Landslide Communications special. Allen Hoffenblum is his partner in these types of mailers.

The Stricklands really are some of the least ethical politicians anywhere. And that's setting a pretty low bar.

Whatever works I guess.

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE DANTONA FOR COUNTY CLERK/RECORDER!!

I have had a barrage of questions and complaints from voters about this. Not that they are saying that they believe the Democratic Party would endorse her but how could this be legal. I think the producers of this fraud should be charged with copyright infringement but that is up to the CDP and the DNC. I have heard that PG&E and Mercury insurance have been paying tens of thousands of dollars to put these pieces out and since the Supreme Court decision it is now most likely legal.

gs - It was sent to Democrats, not DTS. It cost Audra Strickland $750 according to the forms on the Secretary of State website.

surprised it has panec (without paying) when the Democratic Party has endorsed Tim Allison for Congress.

Brian, how about pushing reform?

How about a simple state law (which I believe would pass muster on free speech grounds) which says that all candidate slate mailers not put out by political party organizations must state, in a font no smaller than the largest font on the mailer, that this mailer is a for profit mail piece which selected candidates and issues based on their willingness to pay to be on the mailer.

The tiny disclosure on the bottom just doesn't cut it.

Also, can they use the name "Democratic" and "Republican" as this one does?

Marie has friends.

Brian, how about pushing reform?

How about a simple state law (which I believe would pass muster on free speech grounds) which says that all candidate slate mailers not put out by political party organizations must state, in a font no smaller than the largest font on the mailer, that this mailer is a for profit mail piece which selected candidates and issues based on their willingness to pay to be on the mailer.

The tiny disclosure on the bottom just doesn't cut it.

Also, can they use the name "Democratic" and "Republican" as this one does?

TS,

Did the VCRCC or Audra Strickland pay for it?

The JFK tradition...I think if JFK were alive today he'd be disowned by the Democratic Progressive Party.

Eric,

I have heard that argument before but do you think it is odd she paid to be on a slate with lines like:

"Vote DEMOCRATIC on Tuesday, June 8"

and

"Take this Democratic voter guide to the polls!"

She obviously wants some voters to think she is a Democrat and she wants other voters to think her opponent isn't a strong enough Republican.

The return address on the mailer is:

The John F. Kennedy Alliance
555 S. Flower St.,
Suite #4210, LA, CA 90071

David Atkins says, "The Stricklands really are some of the least ethical politicians anywhere. And that's setting a pretty low bar." Brian Leshon says, "I think the producers of this fraud should be charged with copyright infringement but that is up to the CDP and the DNC."

Interesting how local liberals are outraged that Audra would have her name listed in a slate mailer that announces itself as a "Democrats" voting guide. Meanwhile, Jim Dantona did exactly the same thing, having himself listed in an identically styled slate mailer that announced itself as a "Republican" voting guide.

I will agree that it's ridiculous for any political candidate to pay to have their name listed in a voting guide that is designed to mislead voters with regard to a candidate's party affiliation. However, if this is indeed a reflection of poor ethics on the part of Audra Strickland, then what does that say about Jim Dantona? After all, how can you complain about Audra while giving a free pass to Dantona for doing the same exact thing.

Typical liberal hypocrisy.

According to this http://elections.countyofventura.org/CampaignFinance//Forms/PDFCreate/rad371BD.pdf she also bought a slate called Democrats for a Better California for $1,025. This campaign committee paid for both democratic slates.
The Ventura County Republican Party central committee paid for other slates: http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1018523&session=2009&view=expenditures

Oh, those dastardly liberals! Whatever will they think of next! Their sneaky twofacedness surely knows no bounds. The horror! The shame! Why on earth would a nice lady like Audra ever want to be identified with them? My whole world is collapsing around me. I must find balance. I must seek comfort.

JFK is pictured at the helm of "Royono" a 72' 1936 Herishoff Yawl, owned at the time of this photo by the United States Naval Academy. Kennedy loved sailing her on the Potomoc. I had the privillege of living on and sailing her during the early 70's.
Strickland must be very desperate to attempt to associate herself with this picture. How pathetic! I guess some politicians will do ANYTHING. Hitler said to use "the big lie".
Tomorrow Strickland WILL get hers. Good riddance, liar.

How sad that term limits and and a desire for nothing more than pure political power have combined to turn the Stricklands into office shopping career politicians who seem to be willing to do anything to maintain their elected official position of the day. They are both better than they are demonstrating and I hope the old Stricklands return... and remember it is about the people not the political position.

I think people are getting too fired up about this piece. It clearly says that it is not a Party voting guide. I don't know how effective slate mailers are in getting people to vote for you because you're listed on one.

When you're running for a non-partisan office such as Supervisor, Clerk-Recorder, Treasurer, etc - you HAVE to get your name in front of people from all political parties - DEM, REP, DTS, GRN, etc. I see them as being a valuable & economical tool to get your name in front of the voters, to help improve name recognition.

And Bubba is right - people from all parties do it. Look, I'm no Audra supporter but the fact remains that Linda is also a Republican, so if people's outrage is based solely on the fact that a Republican has their name listed on a "Democratic" voter guide, would Dems be equally enraged if Linda had that spot? I know they wouldn't - so let's call it what it is - selective outrage because Audra isn't the kind of Rep that Dems like, which is fine. And what about Geoff Dean & Lela Dobroth- they're Reps and no one said a word about them being on there, not to mention Totten, Cohen, Goodwin?

Slates are pay to play, which is also clearly stated and indicated by the little asterisk next to candidates names. They're tools used by candidates to get their names in front of voters, end of story.

Kennedy was about money a lot of the time so that is the unifying theme.

All these paid-for slate mailers are a joke, only slightly as irrelevant as the political party mailers and slates targeting voters who cannot think for themselves.

Laura, I love it when you talk tough. Grrrrr.

The return address belongs to a "political consultant and finance advisor":

David L. Gould Company
555 S. Flower St., Suite 4210
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 489-4792
Fax: (213) 489-4818

(Mrs. Parks changed from Dem to Rep immediately before seeking office in heavily-Rep 1996 Thousand Oaks. We have the records.)

Remember this?

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to ensure the survival and success of liberty." JFK's inaugural address, January 17, 1961.

If JFK were alive and in his prime today, he'd be a Republican.

Bubba Kidd

I think that the Republican Party should have the same rights to control their identity as the Democrats. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement regardless of the party being damaged.

Brian Leshon,

The real solution is to implement a system that allows citizens to opt out of receiving junk mail. It would be like having a spam filter on your mailbox, and I bet that in the first year more than 90% of citizens would ask to be included.

One of the best laws ever passed was the Do Not Call registry that allowed citizens to block solicitations by telephone. Unfortunately that law didn't go far enough, since there is an exemption for political campaigns. Fortunately that problem is being solved by technology, since many people no longer have a house phone.

Then again, with the emergence of email and electronic bill pay what would the post office actually have left to deliver? I bet they make most of their money on junk mail these days.

Not to worry, as I always put my political mailers to good use. For instance, I burn my Jim Dantona mailers in the fireplace to keep me warm at night. It does seem somewhat ironic, given how much he touts his firefighter endorsement while mailing out combustible material.

So, Audra's a Democrat now. I wonder what she thinks about:
1. Stimulus funding
2. Business support versus environmental issues
3. (you knew this was coming) Gay marriage

Bubba Kidd,

I don't approve of any candidate pretending to be from a different party and that includes Jim Dantona. I understand why candidates feel the need to do it though as Laura mentioned.

The difference here that you missed is that Audra Strickland has at the center of her campaign the argument that her opponent is too liberal, not a proud Republican, and works too often with Democrats.

Jim Dantona has consistently argued he is a moderate. I don't ever remember him running to the left of an opponent.

Brian, I fault the slates and would respect a politician more if he/she refrained from patronizing them. But I understand why they do it, too.

Dennert Bloggers all:

Me thinks that you all protest too much..

A slate-card by any other name would reek as rancid..

Politics is like a chess game. Only those who don't take it seriously are really good players.

And to that end, what could be more intriguing, pregnant with possibility, and less serious that the cyber-battange between Bubba Kidd and Laura Winchester.

The political divide between them is as great and wide as the rhetorical gulf between conservative agonistes and liberal anguish.

Yet here they are on Dennert's blog, God's children both, toiling mightily in the soiled gardens of local politics, with sublime passion and preternatural predelictions towards partisan panegyrics.

Documented evidence of the wisdom of Will Rogers who said, "The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that's out always looks the best..."

CannisMajoris51

It looks like somebody broke out his thesaurus.

It would be interesting to do a study to see how effective these slate mailers actually are. It's a big money-maker for those who produce them, but now there are so many (I, like probably everyone, got more than 50 this campaign season) I presume they are less and less effective.

I would like to reiterate what BK said about the politicians exempting themselves from the "do not call" laws. They cannot be trusted to correct this. If voters want to be exempted from political mail, it would have to be by initiative. And then it would be challenged in court, on "freedom of speech" issues, with politicians fighting it tooth and nail.

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." ~Winston Churchill

Winston had a point. Much is made of the desperate and/or misleading things that politicians do to get support, but little is said about how little effort voters undertake to really learn what they need to know to make intelligent choices.

Ignorance may or may not be bliss, but complicity in keeping himself/herself in that perpetual state is a sin most American citizens are definitely guilty of committing to one degree of another.

It appears that researching the candidates and issues is too time consuming and might mean missing one installment of "American Idol" or "Dancing with the Stars."

Then there is all that thinking, too. How exhausting!

Brian Dennert here

This blog is dedicated to Ventura County politics. Send in ideas for posts to briandennert@gmail.com
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  • Harold Godwin: "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with read more
  • Leslie Cornejo: It would be interesting to do a study to see read more
  • yyz: It looks like somebody broke out his thesaurus. read more
  • CannisMajoris51: Dennert Bloggers all: Me thinks that you all protest too read more
  • Eric Ingemunson: Brian, I fault the slates and would respect a politician read more
  • Brian: Bubba Kidd, I don't approve of any candidate pretending to read more
  • AMPorterfield: So, Audra's a Democrat now. I wonder what she thinks read more
  • Bubba Kidd: Brian Leshon, The real solution is to implement a system read more
  • Brian Leshon: Bubba Kidd I think that the Republican Party should have read more
  • Kioren Moss: (Mrs. Parks changed from Dem to Rep immediately before seeking read more