Recall Persky Campaign Leaders Call on Ann Ravel to Return Donations from Jim McManis

Stanford law professor Michele Dauber wants state Senate hopeful Ann Ravel to give back thousands in campaign cash from her current employer, prominent South Bay attorney James McManis.

The push comes about a month before the Nov. 3 election, but stems from a 2018 campaign in which Ravel and McManis pitted themselves against Judge Aaron Persky’s recall. The Santa Clara County Superior Court judge made headlines in 2016 after sentencing ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to a measly six months in county jail for raping now-best selling author Chanel Miller.

McManis became persona non grata for Dauber and the Recall Persky campaign when he made victim-blaming comments to the media that Miller had “not [been] attacked” by Turner and accused her of not writing her own victim impact statement.

Ravel, a former Federal Election Commission chair who faces Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese for the District 15 senate seat, apologized last year for endorsing the campaign to keep Persky on the bench but told Fly this week she won’t give the money back. McManis was acting as a lawyer when he made those comments, and won’t have influence on her lawmaking, she said.

“There are people who represent murderers and they’re doing what they’re supposed to do under the law and under our system of justice,” Ravel said. “What they are arguing is clearly showing a lack of understanding of the importance of the justice system.”

Ravel accepted $2,000 from McManis as well as another $7,000 from other colleagues at his law firm. “You publicly said that you regretted your association with McManis’s vile attacks, but you have privately taken his money,” Dauber and some of her colleagues from the Recall Persky campaign wrote in a letter to Ravel. “In so doing you have turned your back on the women of this County who overwhelmingly voted to condemn Brock Turner, Aaron Persky, and the victim-blaming of Jim McManis.”

Below is the full text of Dauber and her colleague’s letter.

Dear Ms. Ravel:

We write with an issue of grave concern to women throughout Santa Clara County. In 2018, you were one of the primary public faces of the campaign against the recall of Judge Persky (see attached screenshot from Judge Persky’s website featuring your image). On March 7, 2019, following the successful recall of Judge Persky by a 24-point margin, you sat down with the recall leadership (including some of the signatories below) for over two hours and declared that you regretted being associated with Persky’s campaign (see attached article “State Senate Hopeful Ann Ravel Says She Regrets Endorsing Judge Persky’s Campaign.”).

In that March 2019 meeting, you professed shock that the leaders of Judge Persky’s campaign, including Jim McManis, had engaged in what you called an “unconscionable” level of “victim blaming and negativity” toward Turner’s victim, then known only as “Emily Doe.” Doe was sexually assaulted by Stanford swimmer Brock Turner behind a dumpster at a 2015 campus frat party. (Doe later disclosed her identity as Santa Clara County native Chanel Miller in her bestselling and award-winning memoir Know My Name, and is an Asian-American writer and artist whose work is currently on display at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

Jim McManis made numerous completely inappropriate victim-blaming statements about Emily Doe. For example, McManis told the Mercury News in May 2018 that contrary to the jury verdict convicting Turner of three felony sex crimes, Doe had consented to the assault. He repeated this falsehood to the Palo Alto Post two days later, saying that Doe had “passed out drunk during a consensual encounter,” and that this was not an assault because Turner didn’t jump out at her from behind a dumpster. McManis told Vogue Magazine that Doe was “not attacked,” emphasized that she had “been drinking,” and said falsely that she did not write her own victim impact statement.

Had McManis simply stated that he opposed the recall based on judicial independence, that would have been incorrect but not morally repugnant. That is not what happened. Instead, McManis publicly defended the sex felon Brock Turner and attacked his victim.

If there is a more appalling example of the mistreatment of a sexual assault victim in Santa Clara County than that provided by Jim McManis we certainly do not know what it is. That is why the YWCA of Silicon Valley recently showed tremendous integrity and refused to accept a large donation from McManis. The Executive Director of the YWCA, Tanis Crosby, said she was returning McManis’s money because his conduct toward Turner’s victim Emily Doe was “deeply at odds with the values of the YWCA.”

You worked for McManis beginning in summer 2018. We found it difficult to believe that you were unaware of McManis’s many inappropriate and highly public victim blaming statements

defending Brock Turner. However, we appreciated and accepted your apology for associating yourself with a campaign that had engaged in such shameful conduct. We believed that you, like the YWCA, would distance yourself from McManis. Sadly, that does not seem to be the case. You still work for McManis and appear on his law firm website. Even worse, your campaign finance reports show that you have taken thousands of dollars from McManis and members of his law firm.

Public records show thousands in contributions from James McManis and members of the McManis law firm to your campaign. These contributions total $7,750. James McManis alone gave you $2,000.

We are astonished that after your public apology and press statements expressing regret for your association with the victim-blaming statements of Jim McManis, you continue to work for him and to take thousands of dollars from him and the members of his firm in your run for Senate.

You were the chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). You are running for Senate on your supposed record of transparency and integrity. You publicly said that you regretted your association with McManis’s vile attacks, but you have privately taken his money. In so doing you have turned your back on the women of this County who overwhelmingly voted to condemn Brock Turner, Aaron Persky, and the victim-blaming of Jim McManis.

The women of this County deserve better. We are calling on you to follow the example of the YWCA and immediately return these donations and condemn and sever ties with Judge Persky and Brock Turner supporter Jim McManis.

Please let us know when you have returned these contributions, and condemned and severed ties with McManis. The women of Santa Clara County deserve to know where you stand.

This letter was written in the individual capacity of the signers, and not on behalf of any organization or entity. All titles are for identification purposes only.

Michele Landis Dauber, former Chair, Committee to Recall Judge Persky
Jennie Hutchinson, former Board Member, Committee to Recall Judge Persky
Sita Stukes, former Board Member, Committee to Recall Judge Persky
LezLi Logan, former Board Member, Committee to Recall Judge Persky
Rebeca Armendariz, former Board Member, Committee to Recall Judge Persky Sophia Yen, MD MPH, former Board Member, Committee to Recall Judge Persky

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  1. Jim McManis sued the SJ city council for texting each other during meetings and refusing to turn over text messages between each other. That litigation took almost ten years, went to the state supreme court, and their resulting opinion forces local governments all over the state to honor California’s Public Records Act. McManis has done more for the public, more for transparency in government than all the lawyers at Stanford, of whom Dauber is not.

    Having succeeded in punishing Aaron Persky, an honorable judge who simply adopted the probation recommendation, Horseface and her cohorts are continuing their “cancel culture” campaign against an individual who isn’t even a public official. They’d do better organizing a “Chick Lives Matter” sign on the Stanford quad.

    And tell Chanel Miller she might live a little longer if she doesn’t set out to drink herself to oblivion as she did.

  2. Agree completely. The tactics of these disreputable harridans are disgusting.

    In this latest episode they continue to display their lack of character, wasting taxpayers time and money on this, instead of doing their job.

  3. I am an attorney in Santa Clara County, and a woman, and I did not support the campaign against Judge Persky even though I thought Brock Turner was a scumbag kid. Judge Persky was known in the legal community as a fair judge who respected the rights of the accused in criminal proceedings. Everyone seems to forget (or conveniently overlook) that he followed the recommendations of the probation dept. when he sentenced Brock Turner. There was never any indication that he was biased against non-white defendants or women. In the public debate about Judge Persky, I noticed many people confusing him with Judge Chiarello who made a very bad family court decision several years ago to return custody of a girl to her father, who later murdered her. That was a terrible case but it had nothing to do with Judge Persky.

    That said, Superior Court judges are elected in California so the voters had a right to recall him. There is no need to tar and feather attorneys in the Santa Clara County legal community who opposed the recall for legitimate reasons. The Santa Clara Bar Association even issued a statement against the recall election.

  4. “We write with an issue of grave concern to women throughout Santa Clara County.”

    Grave concern? Nonsense. Dishonest, delusional, or a combination of the two.

    Women throughout Santa Clara County? Bull. If any appreciable number of women in this county believe in persecuting a lawyer for vigorously defending a client then maybe it’s time to rethink the 19th amendment.

    With this Michelle Dauber is stripped bare (sorry for the image, fellas) of any pretense regarding her commitment to justice, for there can be no justice when officers of the court are penalized for doing their jobs to the best of their abilities. Contrary to the estrogen-impaired reasoning of these local witches, Judge Persky deserved competent legal representation and his attorney was OBLIGATED to provide it as he — not these crones — saw fit.

  5. > Ravel, a former Federal Election Commission chair


    I wonder if “Stanford law professor Michele Dauber” might just be “poking the bear”.

    Ravel is presumably knowledgeable in what is and isn’t ethical in the realm of political finance.

    And Dauber seems to be skating on the edge of what is legal.

    Dauber claims to be sort of a “law professor” or something for Stanford Law School and is presumably paid a salary which is tax deductible.

    Dauber also appears to be a high mucky muck among California Democrats and a “political activist”.

    Politics and “political activism” are NOT tax deductible activities.

    Kind of a fuzzy, murky relationship there, wouldn’t you say, Ann?

    Your friends at the FPPC look at things like that, don’t they?

  6. VACANCY VAQUERO, an honorable judge MY @SS. If judges just have to follow recommendations then, I am becoming one tomorrow. Turner case WAS NOT the only judge Persky sh!t. F@Ck YOU AARON PERKY! Rot in hell m@ther F@cker! F@ck you Santa CLARA County Family and Criminal courts system. You all have created thousands and thousands of dollars, enemies, and harm to children and families. F@CK YOU JULIA EMEDE and F@ken Cordell!

  7. I would rather side with the principled McManis than the one trick pony Dauber. Her foul mouth and weird positions attract her blind minions. Read what she wrote about Harvard’s Noah Feldman.
    Judge Persky followed the probation report which included a recommendation from the other student. Dauber probably wrote the statement read in court. The sentence structure is not consistent throughout the statement.

  8. It doesn’t matter what any Santa Clara County attorney or anyone else thought of Brock Turner, what he did to the woman, the wealth of Turner’s family, etc. It was the light sentence given to Turner for a despicable act by Persky that caused us to recall Persky. His recall was overwhelmingly approved by voters. The very first decision we made on the ballot was to recall Persky and we would do it again.

    When Ravel asked for the voters to join a meeting between her and DA Rosen because she thought his work as DA was “groundbreaking”, that’s all we needed to know about Ravel. Rosen had just determined he would not prosecute any crime as a death penalty case and had been allowing thousands of inmates out of jail under the cover of COVID-19, yet Ravel thought it “groundbreaking”. We’ll never get over that.

    With the same enthusiasm to vote to recall Persky we will vote against Ravel.

  9. It’s clear that Dauber supports Cortese. This is more shameless political malfeasance by Dauber and her fellow racketeers.

  10. First of all, Fexxnist’s inarticulate comment above looks like a plant to me, designed to turn readers off to any serious attempt to call out Ravel’s apparent hypocrisy. And secondly, attacking someone’s physical appearance, i.e. “(sorry, for the image, fellas),” referring to someone as “Horseface” and using phrases like “estrogen-impaired reasoning of these local witches,” does nothing to lend credibility to comments in defense of Ravel. I am in the process of determining whether to vote for Ravel or Cortese, and Ravel’s lack of follow-up on her condemnation of McManis’ remarks concerning Brock Turner’s victim–particularly when juxtaposed against the example set by the YWCA–is worth noting. I haven’t yet made up my mind, but I appreciate the information and, for me, it IS relevant.
    BTW, suggest San Jose Inside review its own “Comments” policies, which state, in part, “We will not publish personal attacks or comments that deride a person…for their PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS (emphasis mine).” Frankly, I am tired of people attacking Dauber re her looks. Grow up, and stick to the facts.

  11. Fexxnist…or is Michelle Dauber herself? Looks like one of her classic vulgar smear tweets. Very lady like. Spoon professional. The Donald Trump of Stanford.

  12. @ Cassandra

    “And secondly, attacking someone’s physical appearance, i.e. “(sorry, for the image, fellas),” referring to someone as “Horseface” and using phrases like “estrogen-impaired reasoning of these local witches,” does nothing to lend credibility to comments in defense of Ravel.”

    I apologize if I in any way suggested I was writing in support of any political candidate. My intention was only to call out Michelle Dauber and her co-conspirators for attempting to once again interfere in the autonomy of the judicial system. Regarding my comment about the image, it was not intended as an attack on Ms. Dauber’s appearance, but rather as an apology for potentially offending the sensibilities of male readers (who, in the woke South Bay, tend to be ultra-sensitive and insecure regarding their sexuality). As for describing the offensive group’s reasoning processes as estrogen-impaired, I plead ignorance, as I am aware of no other recognized cognitive malfunction that could produce such vindictive stupidity.

  13. VACANCY VAQUERO, I had no idea about the lawsuit to have to force the City Council to be transparent. Very interesting. Thank you.

  14. Mother Dauber rises from her study of grimoire and other hexes to show Ms Ann who wears the pantsuit in this relationship. Remember Ms Ann, you’re on the team, but the True Sisterhood eats first. Time to go bend the knee at brunch.

  15. PHU TAN ELLI. The Judicial system is not autonomous and not suppose to be autonomous. For elected judges, their sentences are supposed to reflect the will of the electorate. Not their personal views, and certainly not the views of the Probation Department. If that weren’t the case, they would have appointments for life instead of election cycles.

  16. Judicial independence refers to independence from the Legislative and Executive branches of Government; but not from the electorate.

  17. @ Try Logic

    What a dumb response to my comment. The will of the electorate’s role in the judicial system is expressed through who it selects to make laws and govern the state (as well as the laws they themselves pass through the proposition process). These are statewide processes and through them are communicated to judges the parameters of their sentencing discretion. The system is expressly designed to prevent public opinion from overriding the law in determining the outcome of a case.

    If the system used your interpretation of the sentencing process every trial would be subject to a popularity contest, a process otherwise known as mob rule. Local voters are empowered to do nothing more than elect, reelect, recall, or vote out a candidate for the bench — their votes based on the criteria of their choice.

    Judge Persky was recalled due to the efforts of a bunch of lunatic females. His recall was legal, however had those lunatic females used threats, bribes, or any other unlawful form of coercion to direct the judge’s sentencing of the accused they’d have been subject to arrest.

    Local judges don’t have lifetime appointments for the same reasons mayors don’t, to give the public a level of quality control, and nothing more.

  18. Michelle Dauber does not speak for this Santa Clara County woman, who had the same take on the ‘sexual assault’ incident as the demonized McManis. If there was a victim, it was Brock Turner, not Chanel Miller. Dauber ought to retire from what she likes to think is feminist activism & get herself into psychoanalysis – what drives her to such oblivious & manipulative extremes?

  19. James McManis is an honorable man and does not deserve this ridiculous criticism from this obviously unhappy and frustrated woman. Michelle Dauber gives feminism a bad name and as a woman, she sure doesn’t speak for me. This whole attitude of “search & destroy, cancel culture” going on in today’s society is the most frightening assault on our democracy and first amendment. I condemn this public stoning of James McManis by this madwoman. Shut up and go away Michelle and leave Mr. McManis alone. He is a pillar of the San Jose community and has done much for not only his clients but the community at large. .He is a very good man.

  20. Dawn, it is for people like you who engage in justifying the behavior of rapists, pedophiles, and other sexual abusers that we have a high number of children and women being raped in this county, country, and the world! Peopl justify Trump’s sexual predatory behavior by calling him a playboy. It appears your hatred for Michelle is much greater than your common sense. Even if Michelle stops her advocacy, I won’t. I work in a different way. I learn the secrets of those protecting predators and use those secrets against them. I expose their trashy ways. I connect with all people in this county the rich and the poor. They know I may be a big b!tch; they trust my name and my person. They know I can easily give my life and possessions to protect the people. I do not hang around politicians though, only KAMALA. She is such an adorable big b!tch. I respect her for that. Be ambitious and tough on crime Kamala!

  21. Michelle, your mistake was working with these corrupted politicians. You not only won the recall chica; you won the trust of the majority of people in Santa Clara County, democrats, republicans, independents so on. You lost that trust including mine when you started hanging around Ravel, Cortese, Rocha, so on. These politicians knew you had the power. They brought you to their side created lies about your person and installed doubt about your character. They attacked you and created lies about you even in your most difficult moments. This is a sophisticated technique to neutralize the power of the people’s new leader. They succeeded! Start from scratch and bring to your side those that truly share your cause not the career politicians. People are sick and tired of that. But you mamacita te les pusiste de pechito para que neutralizarán tu poder. Por Dios querida DESPIERTA! Be the enemy of the corrupted systems and people so you can be friends of the people. I pray for you dear. Take care!

  22. Mary, this is just one story of women’s and children’s lives destroyed by Aaron Persky the judge McManis wanted to remain as a judge in Santa Clara County. An Asian woman met and married her White American husband in her place of origin. After few years of marriage, they moved to the United States. Once here, her husband started to abuse her both psychologically and physically. When she decided to report the abuse and start a new life, she ended up in a court room in front of Aaron Persky. Her abusive husband was not punished at all. On the contrary, Persky gave him full legal custody of the two children and joint physical custody fir both parents. The young Asian woman ended up alone in this new country with limited English ability and limited financial resources. She experienced anxiety and depression. She was crying on the street one day when a Christian person asked what was wrong. She shared her story and eventually became a Christian. Her Christian community support her with her goal of fully learning English and getting a good paying job. She was also supported with seeing her children regularly. Despite the joint physical custody, ex husband was blocking contact with the children. When she saw a Recall Persky signature collector with a sign with picture of Persky, she said, “that is man who separated me from my children.” She signed the petition after that. In this county, privileged sexual predators, pedophiles, and domestic violence perpetrators have been given passes for too long. Non privileged offenders receive the full sentence. I will search, destroy, and burn you with green wood until the end of my hopefully long life. Thanks God the majority of people in this county thinks contrary to you Mary. What you called “honorable man” the rest of us call mother F@KER! “Tanto peca el que mata la vaca como aquel que le estira la pata!” F@ck you Aaron Perky and rot in hell! Jeff Rosen yo todavía tengo un pollito que comer contigo. Lo tuyo si que es personal. Y de que me las pagas me las pagas o dejo de ser YO! F@ck You Jeff Rosen! Recall Jeff Rosen!

  23. Michele Dauber — in a consensus among sane, rational, and serious people — is seriously UNHINGED.

    Stop giving that woman power.

    Stop giving her attention.

    Look at her history. Very troubling. Look at her actions. Even more troubling.

    Pay attention, people. Stop letting these attention-craving loons dominate the headlines.

    This drives away good people from public office.

  24. You know that saying Michelle, ”Crea fama y échate a dormir!” You did not need these politicians to win the recall or for anything after that. You only needed the people of Santa Clara County. Gloria your opinion about Ravel flipping side to side and McManis?

  25. Ravel like too many “progressives” do, threw out a simpleton smear “Sleazy Dave Cortese cooperated with Donald Trump’s ICE to incarcerate and deport members of our community. It is amazing how one can deceive and be plain false in several ways in one sentence. Before voting I suggest reading the March 2019 Palo Alto Inside webpage on the reality of what Cortese and the County Board members were trying to accomplish. We do not need more cowardly legislators who will not join in to sensible reforms when they appear on the surface by the flaming activits and the gullible, to offer hints of political incorrectness. Cortese did not work with Trump, ICE is not owned by Trump, the proposal did not impact incarceration triggers nor did it change in anyway wether or not ICE will deport. Who’s sleazy?

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