Monday, October 25, 2010

Dipping into the local election junk mail

On Saturday morning, I did something that I had been avoiding.

I started looking at the accumulated election-related junk mail.

And it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Of course, there's still a little bit of time before the election, so it can turn really bad really quickly.

For the purposes of the Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog, I'll ignore the statewide races and just concentrate on the local stuff.

I heard from two incumbents - Congressman Joe "Food on the Table" Baca and Ontario City Council Member "Fire Chief" Jim Bowman. Because of their incumbency, they didn't have to resort to negative campaigning. Both are creating jobs, and both are tough. Baca didn't mention who was supporting him, but Bowman noted union support (the fire fighters' union and the police union endorse him) and also noted that every member of the current City Council endorses him. The phrase "independent voice" was not found either of the two Bowman mailers that were in the pile.

Another incumbent of sorts mailed me - the city of Ontario itself. While the mailing was about Measure V (an increase in the hotel-motel tax), the mailer was careful not to endorse Measure V. The mailer just provided information...along with a lot of pictures of fire trucks, fire fighers, and police officers. (For some reason, a picture of someone filling a pothole wasn't deemed sexy enough for this brochure.)

Oh, and remember Fred J. Minook? He sent me a mailer also, which talked about dreaming big and being "innovative." Without trashing the current council (again, a refreshing break from negative advertising), Minook listed some of the things that he wants to do, including the redevelopment of Holt, Euclid, and Mountain to increase businesses and tax revenue; attracting more museums and cultural institutions "so our residents do not have to travel to Los Angeles"; and other big plans. One might question the specifics and logic of ideas such as this:

Fred would expand the Convention Center to attract major conventions and stem the losses.

(What if the bigger conventions DON'T come?) but Minook certainly gets credit for raising the issue.

Unfortunately, the apparent civility in the Ontario mayoral election doesn't appear to have extended to the Ontario-Montclair School District board election. The police and fire unions aren't the only unions that are participating in the election; of the three mailings that I had concerning the OMSD election, two were from the local teachers' union, and the third was from a teachers' union-endorsed candidate.

One of the teachers' union mailings was very teamwork-oriented, speaking of teacher-principal-parent teams as well as the "Teachers' Education Team" of Steve Garcia, Elvia Rivas, and Kris Brake. Garcia is the only incumbent who was mentioned in this mailer. The union says that the three will respond to Sacramento's budget cuts by keeping "budget cuts as far away from the classroom as possible." Brake, in her separate mailer, says that she "will work to ensure that taxpayer funds are utilized to directly benefit students."

But the teachers' union sent out a separate mailer - one that lives up to the high "standards" set by the state governor's race. It opens as follows:

It's OK
for Our Children
to Pretend to be Adults...

But It's Not OK
for Our Board Members
to Behave Like Children

What follows is a hard-hitting attack on Paul Vincent Avila's stances on the issues affecting the board...well, except for the issues part. The hard-hitting attack is still there. Examples:

Avila threw a tantrum, using profanity to berate school administrators in front of parents and teachers when his name was left off a middle schools' graduation program....

In his time on the Ontario-Montclair School Board, Avila has lost races for State Assembly 3 times, State Senate 3 times, college board 4 times and city council 6 times.

Perhaps I'm going out on a limb here, but I highly suspect that the teachers' union has objections to Avila other than his language or his electioneering.

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