News

NEC finances 'toilet water' attack ad in Water District race

More outside money pours into council race

While the Neighborhood Empowerment Coalition continues to independently spend money on mailers in the Mountain View City Council election, the group has also spent $30,500 on a mailer attacking water district incumbent Brian Schmidt.

In his campaign to oust Schmidt from his seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District board, Gary Kremen got some help from the NEC with a $30,500 talking mailer. It attacks Schmidt's support for "potable reuse" cleaning recycled water to drinking water standards in order to help conserve potable water from other sources.

"Brian Schmidt wants my family to drink water from the toilet?" says a woman's voice that plays from the audio card, adding: "Say no to toilet water; say no to Brian Schmidt." It reads in part, "EWWW!"

In a response Schmidt posted on Youtube, he claims that Kremen also supports potable reuse, though not publicly. He points out that potable reuse is already in practice on the International Space Station. "This is astronaut water we are talking about, if it is healthy enough for them, it is healthy enough for us."

"I disavow the mailing and people who mail it," Kremen wrote in a Facebook post. "In fact it mistakes my clear position (on) reuse."

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Mountain View Online for as little as $5/month.

Join

Kremen, the founder of sex.com and Match.com, has spent more on his campaign than any other water board candidate in memory -- over $397,993 as of Oct. 18 to take over Schmidt's post representing residents of District 7, which encompasses Mountain View. Schmidt has spent a more typical sum: $17,229.

In its latest available campaign finance report, dated Oct. 18, the NEC reported spending a total of $210,661, most of it in the water district and Mountain View council races. In addition to the $30,500 toilet water mailer, another $5,000 was reportedly spent on Kremen by the NEC for "consulting."

The NEC appears to have been created primarily as a way to help special interests anonymously funnel money into the Mountain View council election, enabled by the 2010 Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United, which the Mountain View City Council opposed in a 2012 resolution.

The NEC counts landlords and PG&E as the only funders that have a well-known interest in Mountain View, among many others that do not appear to have a local interest. It lists Long Beach campaign finance attorney Gary Crummit as its only member, although it claims on its website that it is a coalition of community members. It has spent at least $83,000 on this year's City Council race between Oct. 7 and Oct. 25, backing a trio of council candidates: Ken Rosenberg, Pat Showalter and Ellen Kamei.

The NEC sent out a total of six mailers in support of Rosenberg, spending $34,748. Another $22,455 was spent on five mailers backing Showalter, and another five mailers supported Kamei at a total cost of $26,192.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up for free

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up for free

The NEC lists several funders previously unreported by the Voice: Steven Humphreys, a Portola Valley resident and CEO of Upstart Mobile, contributed $20,000; Carlsbad attorney Timothy Dillon contributed $20,000; and another $25,000 came from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. As previously reported, other funders of the NEC include several Indian tribes, unions representing iron workers and ship builders, a DMV software contractor, PG&E, and the California Apartment Association (CAA), which represents landlords.

A deeper look at the CAA's political action funders finds significant contributions from Prometheus Real Estate Group, which owns at least four large apartment complexes in Mountain View and is set to build others at 100 Moffett Blvd. and 1720 El Camino Real. Among many others there are also contributions from Archstone Communities, LLC, which proposed 333 apartments for 870 El Camino Real.

All of the outside money in this year's election has spurred several residents, including Christopher Chiang and David Lewis, to call for supporting a new state law requiring that the top three funders of a mailer be disclosed on the mailer itself to help prevent the rise of "dark money" in elections. Senate Bill 52, the "Disclose Act," was drafted by state Sen. Jerry Hill and reportedly died in the state Assembly over the summer after passing the Senate.

The California Association of Realtors has also started spending money on council candidates in final weeks, making direct contributions to council candidate campaigns. Rosenberg reported $1,000 from CAR, while Kamei and Lisa Matichak each reported $500 contributions.

All City Council candidates have agreed to the city's voluntary spending limit of $22,689 for their own campaigns and have stayed under it, as of Oct. 31.

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

NEC finances 'toilet water' attack ad in Water District race

More outside money pours into council race

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Nov 3, 2014, 6:29 pm

While the Neighborhood Empowerment Coalition continues to independently spend money on mailers in the Mountain View City Council election, the group has also spent $30,500 on a mailer attacking water district incumbent Brian Schmidt.

In his campaign to oust Schmidt from his seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District board, Gary Kremen got some help from the NEC with a $30,500 talking mailer. It attacks Schmidt's support for "potable reuse" cleaning recycled water to drinking water standards in order to help conserve potable water from other sources.

"Brian Schmidt wants my family to drink water from the toilet?" says a woman's voice that plays from the audio card, adding: "Say no to toilet water; say no to Brian Schmidt." It reads in part, "EWWW!"

In a response Schmidt posted on Youtube, he claims that Kremen also supports potable reuse, though not publicly. He points out that potable reuse is already in practice on the International Space Station. "This is astronaut water we are talking about, if it is healthy enough for them, it is healthy enough for us."

"I disavow the mailing and people who mail it," Kremen wrote in a Facebook post. "In fact it mistakes my clear position (on) reuse."

Kremen, the founder of sex.com and Match.com, has spent more on his campaign than any other water board candidate in memory -- over $397,993 as of Oct. 18 to take over Schmidt's post representing residents of District 7, which encompasses Mountain View. Schmidt has spent a more typical sum: $17,229.

In its latest available campaign finance report, dated Oct. 18, the NEC reported spending a total of $210,661, most of it in the water district and Mountain View council races. In addition to the $30,500 toilet water mailer, another $5,000 was reportedly spent on Kremen by the NEC for "consulting."

The NEC appears to have been created primarily as a way to help special interests anonymously funnel money into the Mountain View council election, enabled by the 2010 Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United, which the Mountain View City Council opposed in a 2012 resolution.

The NEC counts landlords and PG&E as the only funders that have a well-known interest in Mountain View, among many others that do not appear to have a local interest. It lists Long Beach campaign finance attorney Gary Crummit as its only member, although it claims on its website that it is a coalition of community members. It has spent at least $83,000 on this year's City Council race between Oct. 7 and Oct. 25, backing a trio of council candidates: Ken Rosenberg, Pat Showalter and Ellen Kamei.

The NEC sent out a total of six mailers in support of Rosenberg, spending $34,748. Another $22,455 was spent on five mailers backing Showalter, and another five mailers supported Kamei at a total cost of $26,192.

The NEC lists several funders previously unreported by the Voice: Steven Humphreys, a Portola Valley resident and CEO of Upstart Mobile, contributed $20,000; Carlsbad attorney Timothy Dillon contributed $20,000; and another $25,000 came from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. As previously reported, other funders of the NEC include several Indian tribes, unions representing iron workers and ship builders, a DMV software contractor, PG&E, and the California Apartment Association (CAA), which represents landlords.

A deeper look at the CAA's political action funders finds significant contributions from Prometheus Real Estate Group, which owns at least four large apartment complexes in Mountain View and is set to build others at 100 Moffett Blvd. and 1720 El Camino Real. Among many others there are also contributions from Archstone Communities, LLC, which proposed 333 apartments for 870 El Camino Real.

All of the outside money in this year's election has spurred several residents, including Christopher Chiang and David Lewis, to call for supporting a new state law requiring that the top three funders of a mailer be disclosed on the mailer itself to help prevent the rise of "dark money" in elections. Senate Bill 52, the "Disclose Act," was drafted by state Sen. Jerry Hill and reportedly died in the state Assembly over the summer after passing the Senate.

The California Association of Realtors has also started spending money on council candidates in final weeks, making direct contributions to council candidate campaigns. Rosenberg reported $1,000 from CAR, while Kamei and Lisa Matichak each reported $500 contributions.

All City Council candidates have agreed to the city's voluntary spending limit of $22,689 for their own campaigns and have stayed under it, as of Oct. 31.

Comments

hmmm....
Bailey Park
on Nov 3, 2014 at 8:48 pm
hmmm...., Bailey Park
on Nov 3, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Well, guess what? The Neighborhood Empowerment Coalition has gone negative in the Santa Clara County Water District race. It's only a matter of time that they will do the same in Mountain View.

We need to keep this group out of our city. The only way to do that is to VOTE NO on Rosenberg, Showalter and Kamei.

None of the three city council candidates came out and publicly repudiated this shady group. Instead they just sat back and enjoyed the benefits.



SRB
St. Francis Acres
on Nov 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
on Nov 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Meanwhile Kremen's silence if deathening.

Let's follow NEC's Kremen expenditures:

- NEC's treasurer Gary Crummitt has 2 violations and 1 warning from the FPPC this year alone! see here: Web Link
- in addition to this vile mailer, NEC also paid 5,000 dollars to Barry Wyatt Associates for Consulting supporting Gary Kremen for Santa Clara Water District
- Barry Wyatt Associates was until recently (it's still in Google's cache) part of Robinson Communication's team see here: Web Link
- and guess who's running Kremen's water district campaign.... Rich Robinson

Maybe the expenditures are truly independent but what a series of coincidences...


NO to NEC Candidates
Old Mountain View
on Nov 3, 2014 at 9:37 pm
NO to NEC Candidates, Old Mountain View
on Nov 3, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Thank you so much for making the connections.

Ellen Kamei also used Robinson Consulting. She paid Robinson Consulting close to 18,000.00 (according to her campaign)for that awful mailer.

I attended many of the forums and Kamei never mentioned traffic as one of her major issues or 10K cars in the forums and it's also not on her website as a main issue.

Then I get a NEC mailer supporting her regarding traffic and then she sends out that awful mailer about traffic that was created by essentially the same people.

This is all making sense.

WOW. This is bad.


Disgusted
Old Mountain View
on Nov 3, 2014 at 11:46 pm
Disgusted, Old Mountain View
on Nov 3, 2014 at 11:46 pm

This is disgusting. The NEC is attempting to corrupt the political process in Mountain View.

Anyone who hasn't voted yet should seriously consider boycotting any candidates who benefitted from NEC money. It doesn't matter if they knew or not. Those candidates are Kremen, Rosenberg, Showalter, and Kamei.

Daniel DeBolt, thanks for this article. It's a little late now, but still, thanks.


Josue Garcia Padia
Castro City
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:04 am
Josue Garcia Padia, Castro City
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:04 am

The real issue here is the issues. Lets focus on who is doing best for Mountain View. Money in politics is a different issue. Kamei, Rosenberg and Kremen think correctly on the issues and that is all I care about.


Josue Garcia Padia
Castro City
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:04 am
Josue Garcia Padia, Castro City
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:04 am

The real issue here is the issues. Lets focus on who is doing best for Mountain View. Money in politics is a different issue. Kamei, Rosenberg and Kremen think correctly on the issues and that is all I care about.


Josue Garcia Padia
Castro City
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:04 am
Josue Garcia Padia, Castro City
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:04 am

The real issue here is the issues. Lets focus on who is doing best for Mountain View. Money in politics is a different issue. Kamei, Rosenberg and Kremen think correctly on the issues and that is all I care about.


Josue Garcia Padia
Castro City
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:04 am
Josue Garcia Padia, Castro City
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:04 am

The real issue here is the issues. Lets focus on who is doing best for Mountain View. Money in politics is a different issue. Kamei, Rosenberg and Kremen think correctly on the issues and that is all I care about.


Josue Garcia Padia
Castro City
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:05 am
Josue Garcia Padia, Castro City
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:05 am

The real issue here is the issues. Lets focus on who is doing best for Mountain View. Money in politics is a different issue. Kamei, Rosenberg and Kremen think correctly on the issues and that is all I care about.


What??
Old Mountain View
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:41 am
What??, Old Mountain View
on Nov 4, 2014 at 11:41 am

Josue Garcia Padia,

(1) You posted the same comment here several times. Maybe you were impatient for it to load online, but it's more seemly to first check the Town Square version, and notice it was already posted. You should ask the moderator to remove the extra copies.

(2) Outside money *IS* a central issue in this local election, even if you personally don't care. The few candidates it supports didn't do the one thing that would preserve some appearance of independence, which was to criticize and distance themselves from the spending. Voting for them endorses outside money influencing our election! Also, Ellen Kamei has made several missteps and questionable moves, as detailed in the comments above and earlier reports Web Link -- not encouraging in a would-be Council member.


floored
another community
on Nov 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm
floored, another community
on Nov 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm

i'm disgusted

this is a summary of 2 posts from: NEC finances "toilet water" attack ad in Water District race" Original post made on Nov 3, 2014 www.mv-voice.com/square/2014/11/03/nec-finances-toilet-water-attack-ad-in-water-district-race

- NEC's treasurer Gary Crummitt has 2 violations and 1 warning from the FPPC this year alone! see here: Web Link
- in addition, NEC also paid 5,000 dollars to Barry Wyatt Associates
- Barry Wyatt Associates was until recently (it's still in Google's cache) part of Robinson Communication's team see here: Web Link
- and guess who's running Kremen's water district campaign.... Rich Robinson
- Ellen Kamei also used Robinson. She paid Robinson close to 18,000.00 (according to her campaign)for that awful mailer.
- There is a NEC mailer supporting her regarding traffic and then she sends out that mailer about traffic that was created by essentially the same people.
-Gary Kremen and Ellen Kamie share an office space and are having their election night party together.

This is all making sense.

WOW. This is bad.

Maybe the expenditures are truly independent but what a series of coincidences...


Disgusted
Old Mountain View
on Nov 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm
Disgusted, Old Mountain View
on Nov 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm

@Josue - You are right that the "issues" are more important than the funneling of money described in this article.

The big issue in this election is how Mountain View will handle development. Rosenberg and Showalter are in favor of rapid, high-density development. Kamei has been less outspoken in this regard, but her record is one of playing ball with developers.

High-density advocates tell us that this overdevelopment will produce affordable housing. That's a false promise. All that we are likely to see are more overpriced "luxury" units. That's mostly what is being built these days, because that's where the big money is for developers.

The source of this NEC funding actually matters a great deal. Obviously, major developers think that Rosenberg, Kamei, and Showalter would be just great to have on the Council.

I have a different hope for Mountain View than these candidates. I'm in favor of sensible growth, preservation of neighborhoods, and preservation of existing affordable housing. For anyone who shares this view, I'd encourage you to vote for Lisa Matichak, Mercedes Salem, and Jim Neal.




incognito
Waverly Park
on Nov 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm
incognito, Waverly Park
on Nov 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I attended several candidate forums and don't recall ANYBODY saying they were in favor of "rapid, high-density" development.

There IS such as thing as thoughtful, well-planned housing. All this talk of NYC and slums of Mumbai and concrete canyons is such fear mongering! I'm in favor of limited height and keeping the View of the Mountains but yes there is such as thing as replacing some of the office space in North Shoreline with housing that looks like Park Place on Castro Street. Remember, the really pretty one that's only a couple stories high, with fountains and tons of shady trees?

Before we say NO to this let's just take a look at what the possibilities are, then we you can reject what you don't like. But to say NO before even seeing any sketches of anything sounds like a little kid who refuses to try a new food because they're already certain they'll hate it.

Go Vote for the candidate whose ideas match your own, THEN let's figure out how to keep NEC from polluting our MV elections.


Arlene Imagawa
Blossom Valley
on Nov 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm
Arlene Imagawa, Blossom Valley
on Nov 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Is anyone else repulsed by the amount of campaign literature that is being sent daily? In addition, I need to single out Ellen Kamei for her bad judgement in persuing my vote...the mailer with the electronic message made me and my neighbors angry...the batteries will surely go into the landfill and pollute our groundwater. In addition, I got a personal letter in addition to daily pamphets. The final straw was a personal phone call at 6:45 pm on Halloween while I was handing out candy to the neighborhood kids...I only picked up in case it was an emergency. I gave her a piece of my mind about her apparent lack of common sense, etc., and told her that I urged everyone I knew not to vote for her. In a town that prides itself on being "green", this over-spending and enormous waste of resources needs to stop. One flyer, one article in the Voice and a website is all that we need to educate ourselves about the candidates...any excess money should have gone to CSA or the schools. I was so tempted to save all the flyers and dump them on the steps of city hall...I did the right thing by recycling it all...


SRB
another community
on Nov 4, 2014 at 2:49 pm
SRB, another community
on Nov 4, 2014 at 2:49 pm

@incognito - I agree with you that we shouldn't throw out the candidates with the bath water.

But I am disappointed in the candidates not being much more vocal than they have been in stating that the NEC (and its associates) water REEKS.

I'm sorry but Kremen's lone Facebook post doesn't cut it when he spent so lavishly on robo-calls, push polls, flyers, consultants, shared office space....

Strangely, Kremen's expensive campaign consultant (Rich Robinson) lamented about Independent Expenditures in this blog:

Web Link

He also called Mountain View's voluntary caps one of these "stupid laws"...-


SRB
St. Francis Acres
on Nov 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
on Nov 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm

KPIX Channel 5 covered that Water District Race and the toilet water mailer:

Web Link


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.