Santa Clara Family Health Foundation

Rules to Consider Bill that Limits Nonprofit Political Spending

A gut-and-amend state Senate bill that would restrict nonprofits from spending taxpayer cash for political purposes has elicited opposition from K-12 and community college associations, various local governments—including San Jose—and the nonprofits that get money from them. That and more at Wednesday’s Rules and Open Government Committee meeting.

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The Redemption of Cindy Chavez

Cindy Chavez, center, poses for photos with supporters and volunteers after first poll results showed her in the lead for the county supervisorÕs election Tuesday.

In what may turn out to be one of the most expensive races ever for a local county office, Cindy Chavez has captured the District 2 Supervisor seat held by her disgraced former ally, George Shirakawa, Jr. The victory places the largest county government in the global home of leading edge technology—from Teslas to Google Glass—firmly in the hands of an old-fashioned political machine; a classic one that delivers votes, wins elections, rewards its followers and dispenses benefits. Over the next two years, the board will vote on billions of dollars in employee compensation contracts—the county spends $3 billion a year on salaries, benefits and pensions—for the members of the unions who returned the former San Jose city official to public office.

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Family Health Fiasco: King Broke Law by Asking Campos for Endorsement

State Assemblymember Nora Campos received an email from Kathleen King, executive director of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, that appears to have broken state and IRS laws.

The Santa Clara Family Health Foundation was created to help raise money to pay for poor children’s health insurance premiums. In recent years, however, the tax-exempt organization has also acted as a political entity, helping the South Bay Labor Council and Working Partnerships USA fund local tax measures through year-round planning and coordination. While there are some allowances for tax-exempt organizations to get involved in issue campaigns, nonprofits and public agencies cannot play a role in individual candidate campaigns. Kathleen King, executive director of the Health Foundation, has not always followed this rule.

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Family Health Fiasco: Kathleen King Wanted Better Push Polls for Measure A

A flyer with pictures of elected officials who in 2012 supported Measure A, the 1/8th cent county sales tax increase that will collect $500 million over 10 years.

Push polls are a common occurrence in campaign season. They are designed to leave voters with a more positive or negative reaction to topics and/or individuals after answering questions. Political consultant Rich Robinson recently wrote a column on San Jose Inside about his distate for the leading questions, which are often asked without proper context, he argued. Based on email records obtained through a court order last week, it can be said that Kathleen King, executive director of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, does not share this opinion about push polls.

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Family Health Fiasco: Board of Supes President Lets Organized Labor Write His Letters

Board of Supervisors President Ken Yeager sent a letter to Mayor Chuck Reed and the San Jose City Council in February requesting for a continued partnership in supporting the Children’s Health Initiative. But the letter didn’t come from anyone in Yeager’s office.

Kathleen King expressed concern earlier this year to Working Partnerships USA policy director Bob Brownstein that the city of San Jose would stop funding the Children’s Health Initiative (CHI) after Measure A passed in the 2012 election. As executive director of the the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, King realized this would have an adverse effect on the foundation’s ability to continue operations. A plan was then set in motion to tap trusted elected officials.

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Family Health Fiasco, Part I: Foundation Funded Political Campaigns, Not Kids

Email records show that Kathleen King, executive director of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, has focused her agency’s efforts on coordinating political campaigns with county supervisor candidate Cindy Chavez at the expense of helping poor children.

A public agency created the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation more than a decade ago to fund the county’s groundbreaking children’s health care initiative, one that would guarantee that every child who needed a doctor’s attention would be seen. For the past three years, however, low income kids’ health insurance premiums have taken a backseat to personal ambition as Health Foundation officers ran for office, funded their $200k annual compensation packages and diverted money to pay for political consultants, mailings, public opinion polls, phone banks and ballot initiatives. All this transpired behind a shroud of secrecy that was lifted last week by Judge Carol Overton, who rejected SCFHF’s hard-fought legal battle to keep its activities out of the public’s view. Documents obtained as a result of last Friday’s superior court ruling show clearly that the Health Foundation repeatedly broke state laws by using a public agency’s funds and property to operate political campaigns in close coordination with local labor leaders.

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