Political Consultants, Lobbyists Deny Running The Daily Fetch

The Daily Fetch takes no prisoners—at least that’s what political consultant and lobbyist Dustin DeRollo told Fly when denying he has any role in producing the anonymous links blog. In the past six months, the Fetch—under new ownership—has taken a decidedly aggressive tone in going after everyone from Mayor Chuck Reed, his City Council allies and defeated county supervisorial candidate Teresa Alvarado to Metro and its staff. But one group that has received far less criticism from the blog is the organized labor machine and its elected allies, such as Cindy Chavez. So, when DeRollo’s name turned up as the quasi-editor of a PDF the site posted for a story last week, speculation in Silicon Valley political circles percolated that he and his business partner, Tom Saggau, have been orchestrating the site. Both men say that couldn’t be further from the truth, claiming DeRollo was improperly ratted out as a source for a story he expected not to lead back to him. “I sent it in as a story idea off the record and on background,” DeRollo said. “I’ve never had this happen to me, so it’s frustrating.” The claim of innocence is a little suspicious—Fetch has at times read like a Saggau and DeRollo press release for clients, such as the San Jose police union and the Government Attorneys Association—but there is also reason to believe the pair: the duo were “lampooned,” as Saggau put it, in May for their affiliation to George Shirakawa Jr. and getting the county to sign up with Rural Metro, which is now on the verge of bankruptcy. Others have suspected political consultant Ed McGovern—who ran Chavez’s recent campaign and runs in San Mateo county circles, an area the blog also “covers”—took control of the site earlier this year. McGovern didn’t return requests for comment last week but did answer his phone Tuesday when discovery of the DeRollo document started making the rounds. McGovern denied any involvement in the site but couldn’t vouch for his staff, which he says consists of just one person whom he refused to name. Could there be some circling of the wagons going on here? One thing is for certain, the blog does have enough institutional knowledge that it reminds Fly of the website San Jose Revealed, which turned out to be operated by Philip Bump, a South Bay Labor Council operative who has since moved on to write for The Atlantic. Metro/San Jose Inside bought the San Jose Revealed domain name earlier this year to remind people that the Internet forgets nothing.

UPDATE: The Daily Fetch provided this email response after a request for comment on who runs the site: “The Daily Fetch has a long standing policy not to discuss or reveal our sources, except when we do really stupid inadvertent things like what was revealed today. As for the identities of the Fetch staff, we like to think of ourselves not as writers, but as philosophers always seeking the truth.”

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

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