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

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 leading questions in push polls, which are often asked without proper context, he argued.

Kathleen King, executive director of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, does not share this opinion about push polls.

In an email King sent Dec. 6, 2011, to labor organizer and now-county supervisor candiate Cindy Chavez, Working Partnerships USA policy director Bob Brownstein, political consultant Ed McGovern and South Bay Labor Council/WPUSA lead organizer Anna Schlotz, the Health Foundation director worries that polling for the 2012 Measure A effort had “very few questions to move someone positively or negatively.” Having watched the Measure A effort fail in 2010, there was clearly some anxiety over another potential defeat—the Health Foundation threw away $215,000 on the 2010 campaign.

King continues in her email: “We only have enough funding for one poll and my worry is this poll will not give us enough support for another initiative/not give us enough data to sell the supervisors or both.”

Measure A ended up passing in November with 56.6 percent of the vote. Learning from the failed 2010 initiative, which was based around property taxes and required ⅔ approval, the more recent Measure A was a ⅛ county sales tax that only required majority approval. All of the county supervisors, with the exception of Mike Wasserman, supported the half-billion dollar sales tax measure.

“Family Health Fiasco” is a series based on public documents released May 17, 2013, after a court decision by Judge Carol Overton. The documents shed light on how the South Bay Labor Council interacts with local nonprofits and government agencies. Click to read more about the coordinated campaign activities between the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation and local labor leaders.


  1. C’mon San Jose Inside. If we going to get these long fictional stories that no one is reading but me. Please identify who the writer is. Otherwise everyone should discard the story as rubbish.  Silicon Valley Newsroom post nothing but anti Chavez or pro Reed.

    • Obviously more people than just you are reading this Smokey or it wouldnt have such legs (and Shirakawa would still be a free man instead of a felon on his way to a jailcell)

      You might be correct in that SJI runs more articles that expose Chavez’s dirty dealings (just like one can anticipate that your comments will usually be anti-Reed) but just like you have your reasons for disliking Reed, the paper has an obligation to report the shady and criminal dealings of the public.  If Cindy Chavez doesn’t want her name in print with all these details I suggest she clean up her act and stop all the bullying and breaking of rules.  If there were nothing to report, the stories would stop.

  2. Good thing George Shirakawa is front and center on this piece.  It’s kind of surprising they could fit his head into one of those tiny squares…

  3. Someone with a little imagination and more time than I could make a board game out of this:  Political Hanky Panky.

    Bribery = 4 pts.
    Corruption = 6 pts.
    Cronyism = 3 pts.
    Nepotism = 4 pts.
    Theft = 6 pts.
    Gambling (w/ public funds) = 5 pts
    Expensed meals = 4 pts.
    Labor manipulation = 6 pts.

    Certainly there are more fields of play.
    This could be a fund raiser.

    The game of Political Hanky Panky, for a small donation, could be played on line as a contest with the winner getting appointed to some cushy public job.

    • Winner gets “free” tickets purchased with County money to the Raider games while the loser can have to have the cell next to Shirakawa.

      Oy vey if only it were all a joke.  Makes me angry to think of the tax dollars that are taken out of every check and donations made to what was thought to be reputable foundations that were basically stolen and misused.

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