We were watching the current Claremont Unified School Board race unfold when the thought occurred, What ever happened to Preserve Claremont?
Those Preserve Claremont folks and their associated group, Claremont Business PAC, mucked up the 2005 City Council election with false, libelous campaign ads but have been awfully silent this time around. They were really the militant arm of the Claremont 400. Do you think they have gone away?
If this were the typical Preserve Claremont ("Claremonsters") campaign, we'd expect them to come out with a last minute, full-page attack ad in the Claremont Courier on Saturday, November 3rd.
The ad would single out one of other the candidates (call that person Candidate Z) and would make a bunch of false accusations. They would pick this coming Saturday because it would be too late for Candidate Z to respond before next Tuesday's election.
They would also have someone like Judy Wright - their past ghost writer of choice - gin up a slew of letters to send to the Courier and the Daily Bulletin stressing the very same talking points as their ad.
But, maybe this is a different time, a different kind of election.
We were looking at the supporter list for one of the three candidates (let's call the person Candidate X), when we noticed how many Preserve Claremont contributors and supporters were also backing this one particular current school board candidate.
Here's a list of some of Candidate X's campaign committee members and their roles in the 2005 Preserve Claremont smear campaign - dollar amounts are drawn from Preserve Claremont's 2005 campaign finance disclosures filed with the Claremont City Clerk; "supporter" indicates they allowed their names to be used in PC ads:
- J. Michael Fay, $100 to PC, $100 to Claremont Business PAC
- Randy Prout, $200 to PC, $100 to Claremont Business PAC
- Jeff Stark, $250 to PC
- Bob Fagg, PC supporter
- Sonja Stump, PC supporter
- Ken Corhan, PC supporter
We also noticed that some of the very same people are on one of the other candidate's campaign committees as well (let's call that person Candidate Y). Those double dippers are: J. Michael Fay, Jeff Stark, Sonia Stump, and Randy Prout.
And, Art Parker, Candidate X's campaign treasurer, has signed on as a supporter for Candidate Y. Ken Corhan, a Candidate X committee member, is also listed as a supporter of Candidate Y. Do you detect a pattern?
This probably goes a long way toward explaining all those post-candidate forum confabs between the two campaigns in question. Hey, do we detect the hidden hand of former Claremont Police Commissioner Helaine Goldwater manipulating things again? At least Helaine has good enough judgment to be on only Candidate Y's campaign committee.
So, they're still around. Whether or not they're up to their usual tricks is another matter.