Politicians in Glass Houses

Last week, Nora Campos took City Council candidate Magdalena Carrasco to task for accepting campaign money from a controversial L.A. lawyer named Francisco Leal.

Campos’ brother, Xavier Campos, is facing off against Carrasco for Nora’s soon-to-be-vacant District 5 seat, and the outgoing East Side councilwoman publicly questioned Carrasco’s ethics. She also wondered aloud whether the $250 Leal contribution is evidence that Carrasco is selling her district out to Southern California interests.

That charge, of course, would carry more weight had Campos herself not accepted some $19,700 from SoCal Indian gaming interests in her own run for Joe Coto’s District 23 state Assembly seat. Not that Fly has anything against playing the ponies occasionally, but collecting $6,400 from the Alpine, Calif.-based Viejas Tribal Government seems to Fly like more of a heavy hit than the $250 Carrasco donation that Campos is crowing about.

Then there is the $750 Campos collected from BP’s North America Employee PAC on May 21, smack dab in the middle of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill fiasco. It gets better: Campos has also received some $7,500 from various check-cashing/payday loan operations.

One might think that the representative of the most economically hard-hit community in San Jose would be a bit more wary of taking cash from businesses that make their fortune charging poor people exorbitant interests so they can pay their rent on time.

Fly won’t bother asking what promises Campos might have made that would lead the payday loan industry, BP petroleum or L.A. casino owners to contribute to her campaign (as she asked about the Leal-Carrasco contribution).

Fly has noticed that the usually media-evasive Campos has upped her visibility lately under the political guidance of the newbie political consulting team of Rolando Bonilla and Ryan Ford.

And it might be creating enemies in Sac-town. It’s bad sign when the Assembly’s assistant majority leader, Kevin de León, makes it sound like she’s practically hiding in his bushes, threatening to take a bat to his friends’ kneecaps if they don’t agree to support bro Xavier. And all this before Nora has even officially clobbered weakling GOP candidate Atul Saini in the run-off.

Fly’s betting de León is regretting that $100 his 2010 Assembly campaign donated to the candidate he now calls his “personal stalker.” Of course, that was all before his ex-wife starting messing with her little brother.

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

20 Comments

  1. Glass houses is a appropriate title for this story. Nora Campos going ballistic because of a contribution?

    Did she notice little brother took more than $13,000 from developers who showed up to get his vote on the planing comission when making a donation? Or little brother taking more than $1,600 from bail bonds lobbyist who ask for favors? Or little brother taking more than $11,000 from lobbyist?

    Maybe she’s just upset that half of little brothers donations came from out of town or out of state. Or maybe she’s just mad because she had to bully and threaten elected officials to give her little brother money.

    • Nora Campos is being a good big sister to her wimpy younger brother.  Her family can celebrate their “victory” and success at their next family get together. 

      Spare the public the over the top acting Ms Campos.  Stop trying to fool the public into believe that you are truly appalled by the $250 contribution a So Cal lawyer makes to your baby huey brother’s opponent when your palms are greased with union money, developers and gambling interests from down south and out of state.  Glass houses indeed. 

      Xavier Campos takes developer money then votes for their projects from his seat on the Planning Commission.  Grade:  F

      Xavier Campos is the Chief Operations Officer @ MACSA with direct line of authority over the two now defunct charter high schools when the agency STEALS nearly half a million dollars from the teacher’s pension fund.  Grade: F

      Xavier Campos steadfastly refuses to address his role in the MACSA scandal other than to say he is “proud of his life’s work there” and its the Chamber and Carrasco that are attempting to smear him.  Wah, wah they’re being mean by telling my secrets.  Grade: F

      Xavier Campos spends 20+ years as a community leader and advocate and still people in the eastside don’t know who he is or trust his shady references.  His heir-apparent status is challenged by a relatively newcomer who he barely maintains a 60 vote lead on in the primary. Grade: F

      “X” may mark the spot but the grade for union lackey Campos is a resounding “F” for fail.  Nora can hold your hand as you cross the street, I am sure she can hook you up with some cushy union or lobbyist job in Sacto when she gets there.  Two of the most non effective “community” leaders the eastside has every produced.

  2. For criminy sakes!  This is a City Council election!

    What the heck is BPs North America Employee PAC doing contributing to anyone in this race?

    They should be contributing to candidates who are going to do something about overturning the Obamagogue’s offshore drilling moratorium.

      • Dear Just Wondering:

        Did you ever wonder where the oil comes from that allows you to put gasoline in your Prius?

        Yes, Priuses run on gasoline, which comes from oil, which comes from offshore drilling.

        Drive a Prius, lube a pelican!

      • I think Obama’s absolute moratorium on off-shore oil drilling was draconian, and only intended to make it appear like he’s doing something, as opposed to a well thought out policy initiative.  A moratorium on drilling at excessive depths would seem a more appropriate course.  Although all the oil wells in the world won’t do much to lower gas prices, until the U.S. increases its refining capacity; that’s the principal bottleneck, not the high cost of crude oil.

    • Campos (Magdalena) is running for state assembly and is guaranteed a win because she won the democratic primary.

      BP probably just wants “open door” access to the future assembly member when/if off-shore drilling in California is put back on the table as political and economic tides shift. 

      I suspect energy prices are not really sustainable (foreign oil, increased competition from growing Chinese economy and others, finite supplies) and we can expect to take another hit to the economy from that sector in the next few years.

      Expect the usual suspects to get richer in the process.

  3. Cali is heading for inevitable financial thermonuclear meltdown.  It’s just a question of how fast we get there.

    Therefore I’ll be voting for Nora as I know she’s got the right stuff to drive what’s left of this state into the ground faster than her opponent.

    • Sadly, I sometimes find myself almost sympathizing with this worse-is-better analysis.  The big SHTF crisis is essentially inevitable, and the sooner it comes, the better position we’ll be in to deal with it (nationally, as well as state-wide).  The voters have really dropped the ball over the last 40 years or so, and there’s going to be a reckoning, whether we like it or not.  The present recession is but a mere foretaste.

      • We could, however, benefit from the lunacy.

        Here’s how.  Democrats think reform (prop 13 and term limits removal is essential).  One sneaky plan is to call for a california constitutional convention (where everything is on the table.)

        Once this is call, pass a motion to dissolve the state and revert to the U.S. territory.  Governor would be appointed by the President, debts and liabilities would be assumed by the feds (deep pockets and plenty of ink for the printing presses making funny money.)

        Then apply for re-admission as two states like West Virginia and Virginia did during the 1860’s reconstruction period after the civil war.  Besides pawning all the bond debts and stuff off on the feds, we could also become a model for American Reinvestment and get extra money to build stuff like high speed rail and water projects.  Add in 2 extra U.S. Senators after readmission and I think we’d come out fine in the deal.

        Anyone game?

        • Hell, unless it involves torturing puppies, or watching “Lady Gaga” videos, I’m in favor of any proposal that leads to Northern California being its own state.  If you believe the Federal courts would allow what you’ve suggested, however, then you haven’t been paying attention since, well, since before I was born (in 1970).  I’m not saying your proposal is unConstitutional; I’m saying the Constitution is largely a dead letter, and that might-makes-right is the governing principle of this society.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

  4. We can criticize all day, but the real problem is 50,000 hypocritical voters electing their favorite public hypocrites. Her behavior always has and always will get her votes and get her into office as long as she sticks to the districts that know and love her.

    We no longer want to follow the best of ourselves—we want to hold up as examples people whose pettiness and short-sightedness don’t make us feel so bad about ourselves.

    • I don’t think its that complicated.  I think she’s just running from a district where most of the voters sill reflexively (it not always consciously) buy into the notion that the Democrats are the party of the working man.

      NEWSFLASH:  The “party of the working man” was disbanded sometime around 1962.

  5. Shining a light on the hypocrisy behind the incompetency…depressing.  I am a big encouraged this election season, however, by the places like this site where actual dialogue is happening. Something is shifting—we can be both jaded and engaged!  Another favorite: the new kid on the block, Electionland.  There’s a site for each state, and it proves that a) it is not embarrassing to not know things, b) people want to participate in this country, but do not feel empowered, and c) communities are powerful.  Awesome.