In the News

District 28 Attack Ad Examined

Ad From Independent Groups, Candidate Says

Friday May 21, 2010

KSBW 8 News, May 21, 2010

District 28 Attack Ad Examined
Ad From Independent Groups, Candidate Says

POSTED: 4:17 pm PDT May 21, 2010
UPDATED: 10:35 am PDT May 24, 2010

SALINAS, Calif. -- A new ad concerning the California 28th District Assembly seat is getting a lot of attention for how it personally attacks one of the candidates.

Three Democrats -- Janet Barnes of Salinas, Francisco Dominguez of Gilroy and Luis Alejo of Watsonville -- are all aiming to replace Anna Caballero, the current assemblywoman representing the district.
The race got heated Friday when an ad started running that strongly attacks Luis Alejo and supports Janet Barnes. The following is from the advertisement:
"For someone who wants to make laws, this Assembly candidate sure doesn't know how to follow them. Luis Alejo was cited nine times for traffic violations. Fined $1,000 and had his driver's license suspended after being convicted of reckless driving. Off the road, Alejo failed to pay taxes and had a lien placed on his home for refusing to pay his bills."
After the following statement, the breathless tone of the commercial suddenly turns to lofty music and urges the viewer to vote for Janet Barnes.
The ad is produced by two third party groups -- the Safe Neighborhoods and Better Schools Coalition and Ed-Voice. The groups have contributed more than $150,000, not to Barnes campaign directly, but on ads and fliers that say they support her campaign.
But Barnes said in a statement to Action News on Friday that she is not happy with the ad and that she wishes independent groups would run a positive campaign.
"I'm not happy about the ad that started today listing Mr. Alejo's traffic violations and financial issues. We have no connection with these independent groups, and I hope and trust that is true of Mr. Alejo's campaign. I wish these groups had less influence in our politics. Campaigns should be about the voters first, and about who is best qualified to serve them," Barnes said in a written statement.
Action News staff did some checking Friday to see if the accusations against Alejo were accurate.
In the last six years, Alejo has had tickets for speeding, failure to yield, an improper left turn, following too closely to another vehicle, two tickets for a broken light on his car and one for a missing car registration sticker on his license plate.
Also, Alejo did have his license suspended for reckless driving, but it was nearly 20 years ago when Alejo was an 18-year old. He is now 36.
As for the tax problems and the lien, Alejo said that it resulted from a home his father owned that is being foreclosed.
Alejo said he doesn't like the ad tactic and is getting support from an Assembly incumbent.
"If it's being done in your name I think you have a responsibility to say it's not in my name, I renounce this," said Bill Monning, who represents the 27th District. "I want to focus on issues and not this smear campaign."

Barnes, meanwhile, said she has no connection with the independent groups and wishes the groups had less influence on politics.
As for Barnes traffic record, a search with the Monterey County Superior Court turned up nothing.
There are also two Republicans running for the 28th Assembly seat -- Allen Barker and Robert Bernosky. Both men are from Hollister.