Campaign Coordination: A (Legally Interpretive) Labor of Love

The Fair Political Practices Commission awarded a cookie last week to Cindy Chavez, champ of Tuesday’s county supervisor primary. FPPC Chief Enforcement Officer Gary Winuk ruled that mass mailers shared between Chavez, the county Democratic party and the South Bay Labor Council followed the Political Reform Act to the letter, which must mean it was written in some kind of Cyrillic and Arabic scramble. Part of the ruling stated that anyone who registers with a party is considered a member, even if they don’t pay dues, which means a party’s candidate of choice basically has an unlimited amount of coordinated funds at their disposal. Leo Briones, the political consultant who filed the FPPC complaint and works for Chavez challenger Teresa Alvarado, called the ruling “incomplete” but noted he wasn’t completely stunned: “True surprise that Cindy Chavez figured out the loophole. Shirakawa and her, that’s what they do.” Shirakawa, of course, is one George Michael Shirakawa Jr., the man who misspent taxpayer and campaign funds, tongue-wagged fraudulent mailers and will likely be sentenced to jail on Friday. With a July 30 runoff now in place between Alvarado and Chavez, that should give Mercury News reporter Tracy Seipel plenty more stories to botch—or at least that how’s high school sportscaster and former San Jose City Council candidate Robert Braunstein sees it. In his Almaden-centric newsletter, Braunstein takes Seipel to task for not only biased reporting of the FPPC ruling, he also takes issue with her coverage of his 2012 candidacy and the suggestion that an endorsement from the San Jose Police Officers Association made him a patsy for the union. We’d ask POA President Jim Unland for comment, but he’s probably too busy posting escort links to his blog and Twitter account.

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. I don’t live in the district but was surprised at the low turnout figuring that the Shirakawa mess would drive people to vote.  Boy I was wrong.  So I asked some friends and relatives who live downtown and in east San Jose.  None of them voted.  They said it didnt make a difference.  Alvarado was part of of the old Alvarado camp and Chavez was part of the labor camp.  No big deal to them.  I asked about reform. Alvarado just comes across as another insider.  No one could name a reform.  Or tell me that it mattered.  Same old same old. 

    Any experts saying that turnout was low because the campaigns were so mediocre?  Just wondering.

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