After Pollster’s Alleged Calls, Bonta Asks Guillen To Pledge For A Clean Campaign

PHOTO/Shane Bond

ELECTION ’12//ASSEMBLY 18 | An alleged telephone poll says Rob Bonta wants to end public schools in the state. During a candidates forum in Oakland Thursday night, it became the impetus for the Alameda vice mayor to ask his opponent, Abel Guillen, for a pledge against running a negative camapign from here to November.

“If Mr. Guillen would join me,” Bonta said during his opening statement, “to pledge to run a positive campaign on the issues and to not attack my opponent’s character or take his public record out of context. I think we should encourage our outside supporters to do the same and I would like to know if Mr Guillen would take that pledge.” Guillen simply replied, “Sure.”

Afterwards, Bonta admitted the impetus for the pledge stemmed from listening to a recording of an unidentified pollster gauging the prospective voters reaction to Bonta allegedly advocating for the end of public education. “I heard the poll,” said Bonta. “The whole thing was taking my record out of context. To say something like that is insane. I’m not naïve to think that doesn’t happen in politics, but it only has to happen if we choose for it to happen.”

Bonta added he also wanted the race, pitting two Democrats in the general election, to become a model for how such campaigns could be run in the future and without ripping apart the party’s faithful.

“We’ve all seen what’s happened in the past few weeks. It hasn’t always been positive,” Bonta said. “I think that’s indisputable, so I just wanted to extend an olive branch and say, let’s do this positively.”

Pat Dennis, a consultant for Guillen, said he is not aware of any polling commissioned by the campaign asking such questions and posits they may be the work of independent expenditure groups. Dennis also denies the tenor of the campaign, thus far, has been negative. “We’ve been positive,” he said. “Having a discussion about people’s record and what they stand for and who is funding campaigns is an issue.”

Last month, Guillen filed a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission alleging Bonta failed to disclose campaign finance reports to the state for his 2010 run for the Alameda City Council. Bonta filed them with the city, but not electronically to the secretary of state’s office. Bonta said Thursday he received a letter last week from the FPPC essentially stating, no harm, no foul.

Categories: Abel Guillen, Assembly, FPPC, League of Women Voters, Oakland, polling, Rob Bonta, Uncategorized

16 replies

  1. Campaign 101: make your opponent agree to something and then try to catch him breaking his promise. Did Guillen sign an affidavit?


  2. Focus on on Bonta's accomplishments during his ever-so-short stint on city council … there's an idea! WHAT … what do you mean? Bonta hasn't done much while on city council? NOOOOO … nvm the positive campaign … let's start slinging mud!


  3. It's not Guillen running the recall campaign against Bonta in Alameda, it's local residents…


  4. I think if Abel Guillen wants any future with the party in the East Bay he needs to recognize he and his people are hurting the BIG PICTURE Democratic Cause, saying nothing of a potential bright future he can have.


  5. Nonsense. Guillen and Bonta are almost perfectly identical, policy wise, except that Bonta tacitly accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign spending support from big developers in 2010 to get elected to Alameda City Council. We know who owns Bonta now.

    And the CTA has it in for Bonta because of his support for charter schools and education reform. The CTA is tracking Bonta's contributions and tying it back to education reformers, charter school supporters, etc.

    The only thing that Guillen is “hurting” is Bonta's desire for a quick rise through the Democratic machine ranks. Named to the hospital board by his cronies, elected to city council just 6 months before he announced his Assembly campaign. Bonta is driven by his own self-aggrandizement, and is willing to say or accept anything that will fulfill it.


  6. More anonymous lies attacking Bonta. Bonta didn't take money from developers when running for council (look for yourself!) and CTA has much, much bigger fish to fry with Proposition 32. If Bonta hates public schools as much as you claim he does, then CTA would have ensured he never made it out of the primary.


  7. Wow. Talk about putting words in someone's mouth…

    I Didn't say that Bonta accepted money into his campaign.

    Rather, that he tacitly accepted support from SunCal and who knows what other developers, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads, attack mailers and polls attacking Bonta's opponents.

    Bonta never disavowed it, disowned it or repudiated it.

    See some of the mailers for yourself:

    And I didn't say that Bonta hates public schools. What I wrote was that the CTA doesn't like his support for charter schools.

    So YOU'RE saying that Bonta hates public schools? Just not enough to anger the CTA?


  8. Bonta is a good guy. But what exactly has he (that is Bonta himself) accomplished as a city councilmember?


  9. You have remarkable insight into what CTA is thinking.


  10. Bonta is still touting working with the Obama administration to bring thousands of jobs to Alameda. Yet he admitted that it was John Russo and his federal contacts that did all the heavy lifting to get it done. How disingenuous!


  11. In the 2010 Alameda City Council and mayoral campaigns, Suncal and its subsidiaries spent many thousands of dollars on ads and mailers to influence the outcome.


    (I know all of the candidates well and was heavily involved in the Alameda Point development process at public meetings during Suncal's term as the prospective master developer.)

    The mailers and ads–all paid for independent of the candidates' campaigns–were universally seen as “toxic” to the candidates they purported to support, and the successful candidates won DESPITE Suncal's negative campaigning, not because of it.

    Suncal tried to donate small sums ($750 I think) to ALL of the city and mayoral candidates. ALL of those checks were either refunded or returned, as I heard it at the time–none of the candidates wanted anything to do with Suncal, which had lost 85%-15% in February 2010.

    Bonta HAS received contributions in 2011-12 (for his AD 18 campaign) from NONPROFIT HOUSING DEVELOPERS–the folks who develop low-income, affordable housing. Sierra Club activists in Alameda, among others, see that as a POSITIVE for Rob Bonta and have no problem with those contributions.

    The money Suncal spent in 2010, however, was universally decried, condemned, and returned or refused by the candidates in all city races, and Bonta is NOT in anyone's “pocket” as a result of Suncal's poisonous tactics.


  12. “Bonta is a good guy. But what exactly has he (that is Bonta himself) accomplished as a city councilmember?”

    Bonta has consistently asked sharp and intelligent questions of city staff, outside consultants, developers, and others who have brought proposals to the Alameda City Council. He has been a great collaborative legislator with many creative ideas on a variety of topics.

    He has consistently voted to support affordable and multifamily housing (witness the city's new Housing Element, which brings Alameda into compliance with state housing laws for the first time in 20 years).

    He has consistently spoken up in favor of organized labor, environmental concerns, smart growth, improved transit and bike facilities, good government, etc.

    He has reached out extensively to involve the community through a series of community forums he has conducted all over Alameda.

    He helped implement broad new community outreach policies and sunshine policies by being on the subcommittee that worked on the more recent phase of improving public noticing and citizen involvement in all decisions.

    There is much more, but he's not just an opportunist or another pretty face, to put it mildly.

    Knowing that some of Abel Guillen's supporters in Alameda are believers in all kinds of fringe conspiracy theories (they're the ones behind the baseless attempt to recall Bonta, which will probably fizzle), I can only hope that Guillen has better luck dealing with them than anyone else has ever had.
    I would never want them to be my supporters if I were running for any office.


  13. “Rather, that he tacitly accepted support from SunCal and who knows what other developers, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads, attack mailers and polls attacking Bonta's opponents.”

    These claims and statements are patently false:

    1. None of the candidates could do anything, legally or otherwise, to stop Suncal–and it was only Suncal–from campaigning independently and nastily to influence the 2010 Alameda campaign.

    2. Like every other candidate in the CC and mayoral races, Bonta repeatedly denounced Suncal's participation in the campaign, repudiated Suncal's “help” and supposed support, and either returned or refused their check(s).

    3. I was on a volunteer advisory committee for Suncal in 2009-10. None of us liked Suncal's tactics, either. But no one at Suncal ever returned my calls or responded to my emails when I tried to point out that they were conducting the worst possible kind of campaign, and the very first mailer I saw from them was all it took to want to divorce myself from them.

    No one liked what Suncal was doing during that campaign in 2010. No one.
    Especially the candidates that Suncal was trying to “help” by poisoning the entire electorate against them.

    Bonta, Gilmore, and Tam were elected DESPITE Suncal, not because of it. Ask any voter in Alameda–preferably before you make any more false claims.


  14. Mr. Spangler, all the generalities you forwarded as accomplishments are so vague. Any elected official can claim the same. Voting the right way is good but where has he taken initiative specifically. Why is it so hard to do?


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