It’s Hard Not to Love Election Season

A political comic strip/hit-piece lampooning Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong was sent to 7,200 Cupertino voters over the weekend, just two days before the city’s election on Tuesday. Titled “The Adventures of Gilbert Wrong, Mayor of Cupertino,” the comic strip sets out four different scenarios in which Wong is contacted by a secretary with someone waiting to bend the mayor’s ear. The people in waiting include: land developers; the late Steve Jobs, because Apple’s headquarters is in Cupertino; a cement-plant manager; and concerned parents of school children. A group called Cupertino Against Corruption sent out the email blast, and Wong wasn’t the only person called out by name. Marty Miller, a planning commissioner also running for council, was labeled in the email as someone beholden to developer interests as well. A consistent message in the political ad is Wong’s interest in free WiFi, an Apple store and iPads for his supporters—causing Jobs to ask, “What am I, your uncle?”—and disinterest in environmental concerns over the Lehigh Permanente quarry and cement plant. Those who remember the dog days of summer might recall Cupertino Councilmember Barry Chang being reprimanded by Jeff Smith, the Santa Clara County chief executive, for his fierce clashes with colleagues over the quarry. Not that we’re saying Chang had anything to do with the comic strip.

UPDATE: Wong was re-elected mayor of Cupertino, while Miller lost a close race to Ron Sinks.

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


  1. We get the government we deserve.
    Incompetent, greedy opportunists have always and will always exist and run for political office. It’s our responsibility as voters to be smart enough not to be fooled.
    This cartoon is less an indictment of Gilbert Wong than it is of the people of Cupertino.

  2. politics makes for good theater, and while the anonymous hit pieces are standard dirty tricks that resurface in local races again and again, this is notable and interesting because of its high tech implications.

    And no, I don’t mean the stuff about Ipads and WiFi but the fact that the political operatives generated a list of email addresses and used it for a spam like email hit piece.

    I recall some classic SJ hit pieces like a flier that played the race card in a two minority race, and another that played the commie card with the vietnamese community.

    I think hit pieces have backfired sometimes, hurting the folks that are believed to be responsible sometimes, but I also believe that sometimes in close races they have made a difference (like asking someone “have you stopped beating your wife?” leave the whole crowd thinking there’s something to the questions even if the guy/girl is not married).  To be most effective, this little smears have to be targeted and timed, landing at the last minute in the hands of folks that are already troubled about voting for someone in a tight race.

    Decency and honesty, however, suggest that dirty tricks don’t belong in civic life and political activities – does anyone believe they would do this crap if it didn’t sometimes work?  Don’t the folks in Sacramento and DC play the same kind of rhetorical games and enjoy the support of independent expenditures of political action committees / corporations / unions who will take the gloves off and play dirty politics to help their guy/girl win?

    Sometimes, like sports, people take winning and losing in politics way to seriously and demeans themselves and our democratic process, lowering the bar instead of raising it.

  3. I hardly think the Jobs family would appreciate the use of Apple or the Jobs image in any political smear piece, regardless of who put it out, or who it was intended to insult.  Cupertino Against Corruption….what a joke –

    ….let’t try to promote Cupertino For Civil Discourse and Effective Government…the citizens and businesses of Cupertino deserve nothing less.

  4. “Barry Chang being reprimanded by Jeff Smith”?  Where did that come from?

    Smith is in no position to reprimand anyone since he is a hired gun working for the county.  Barry Chang is an elected official in the City of Cupertino.

    Please get your fact straight and take civil lesson 101 to get some sense how the system works!!

    • “hired gun?”  No, Smith is the county’s chief of staff.

      Barry Chang is an elected official?

      Who elected him?  Ignatius Ding, who attacked Donna Austin, who not the brightest penny in the world, with a hit piece claiming her loan to her campaign was a “contribution.”

      Ignatius Ding is about as unethical as the old Maoist Gang of Four

  5. Well, I don’t live in Cupertino, and I don’t have a lizard in this fight.

    But I think the comic strip is imaginative and amusing.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the emailer on “The Adventures of Barack Obama, President of America”.

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