Big Money and Vague Promises
The uneven flow of dollars into the mayor’s race in Vallejo intensified over the last month as a flood of special interest money poured into the campaign coffers of JumpStart candidate Landis Graden. Real estate interests and regional building trades and public safety unions have spent heavily in past cycles to narrowly swing city council elections. This cycle they are once again investing in the JumpStart PAC slate of candidates to perpetuate a status quo in which they maintain an outsized influence at City Hall.
Incumbent JumpStart council candidate Verder-Aliga takes credit for the results of a broad economic recovery she had nothing to do with, and one in which Vallejo continues to lag behind our neighbors. The other two sitting JumpStart councilmembers Malgapo and Dew-Costa were also founding members of the secret ad hoc committee that colluded with the waterfront cement plant applicants before the project’s environmental impact report was even available to the public. Together with Mayor Davis, the JumpStart majority threw away millions of tax dollars by refusing to implement Measure C, which voters approved with a landslide majority vote.
Mr. Graden’s campaign messaging this cycle has been long on happy talk about working through differences, but remains stubbornly short on substance. He offers no explication of the nature of those referenced differences or any hint about how to move past them. It has long been the rhetorical refuge for defenders of the JumpStart status quo to paint critics as the problem. They habitually charge that those who express anger and frustration with rampant incompetence and cronyism are just being unreasonable and unpleasant. Mr. Graden’s framing is just a softer version of the strident and defensive tone found in the JumpStart literature. In the view of Mr. Graden we just need to set aside our infighting and work together. Gee, it's so simple, why didn’t we think of that sooner? C’mon, man.
For a planning commissioner, Mr. Graden’s other major campaign theme centered around community planning sounds curiously outdated and out of touch. “It’s time we collaboratively and thoughtfully design a vision...and create a plan to move forward.” Why is he talking as though it’s a project waiting for the future? That collaborative visioning process he describes has been underway for years now under the Propel Vallejo planning initiative. Did he miss it somehow? There’s nothing of substance here, just a thin veneer over the same set of special interest players and campaign dollars that narrowly dominated past election cycles.
Bob Sampayan may have attracted one fifth of the campaign contributions last month, but he brings five times the experience with city government to the mayor’s office. The big money special interest players know that he won’t be bought, and he has proven his dedication to our community over three decades of service as police officer and councilmember. Bob’s term on the council over the past five years was marked by a series of four to three splits in which he found himself in the minority. In this election we have that rare chance to vote for the candidate with the most experience who also offers the best chance for positive change in local government. This time that candidate for mayor is Bob Sampayan. If we reject the entire JumpStart slate at the ballot box and elect council candidates Diaz, Meitzenheimer, and McConnell as well, we can establish a new working five member majority on the council ready to lead Vallejo into the future and get things done.
Join us in voting for Bob Sampayan, Mina Diaz, Liat Meitzenheimer, and Robert McConnell!
Solano County District 2 Supervisor:
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