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Getting nasty in Pasadena

Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell is not on the ballot this year, but he’s definitely involved in the Council elections.

A political action committee (PAC) with ties to Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell contributed more than $20,000 to three candidates in the current city council election and funded a series of attack ads targeting Pasadena City Councilmember Cody Ray Wheeler, who is running for re-election to his second term as the District D representative.

The Citizens to Keep Pasadena Strong received only one contribution during the last reporting period, a $35,000 donation from the Johnny Isbell campaign account on March 11, according to recent campaign finance reports.

The PAC’s expenditures totaled $21,302.56 and included contributions totaling $7,153 to District E candidate Cary Bass, $7,111.46 to District D candidate J.E. “Bear” Hebert and $7,037.25 to District C candidate Emilio Carmona.

Campaign records indicate from the total, each candidate received $3,500 for “in-kind grassroots development” with the remainder spent for direct-mailers for each candidate.

Although several direct mail pieces sent by the PAC target incumbent District D candidate Cody Ray Wheeler, his opponent “Bear” Hebert said he had nothing to do with the contents of the mailers.

See here, here, and here for the background. The story neither shows the other side of this mailer, which is where whatever evidence the attackers have for their allegation would likely go, nor explores the truth value of it, so there’s not much for the casual reader to go on here. Wheeler has responded with two mailers of his own – there are others against him similar to the one shown above that have been sent as well – but he could easily be outspent; he tells me that Isbell has shelled out over $66K in this election, a huge amount for a small city like Pasadena.

In some sense the specifics of all this mail don’t matter, since this is really all about Mayor Isbell and his ongoing efforts to consolidate power by installing a more amenable Council for himself. The redistricting scheme was a part of that as well. The best antidote for that is for Isbell’s opponents to win their elections. Early voting is over in Pasadena – I have no idea how it’s going, as that information is not readily available – and Election Day is Saturday, May 9. If you’re in Pasadena and you want a Council that isn’t just a bunch of yes men for the Mayor, then CM Cody Wheeler is one of the candidates you ought to be supporting.

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One Comment

  1. Steve Pasadena says:

    This is has been a nasty one for Cody Ray Wheeler. Pasadena Council Member Don Harrison who is term limited this election was attacked in a similiar manner last election cycle. From all appearances, the Mayor has taken all the focus off of Don Harrison and placed his largest attack campaign against Cody Ray Wheeler who is a young and promising leader in our community. He is a coalition builder, an Iraq war veteran, and very citizen friendly. He backs unions, listens to his neighborhood concerns, and willing to back Pasadena City Employees. He risked his position in council by backing the Assistant Volunteer Fire Chief who was fired by the Mayor after questioning the budget with regard to the location and availability of fire fighting equipment. We need watchdogs of our tax dollars like him in our office. Council Member Wheeler was also extremely concerned when retirees of the city had their medical insurance coverage plans nearly doubled which in turn made it almost impossible for them to pay the plan. The two business friendly council members who are running at large went with the increase in medical insurance coverage for retirees that served our city. We would like to have folks vote for Oscar Del Toro and Pat Van Houte to keep this sort of highjacking of our citizens from continuing to happen. We cant continue to sell our citizens and former employees of the City of Pasadena short. We have great employees for our city that deserve to retire without council members and the Mayor taking away benefits that were offered to them when they were serving. This increase in insurance coverage affected former city workers which included our retired police force. So if anyone wants to believe all the attack ads they will be buying in to false and misleading advertising. Think of why someone would send out so much attack mail on one candidate with baseless claims and twisted logic. Cody Ray Wheeler is standing in support of the citizens of Pasadena which may also keep insurance companies from making a profit from the backs of retired employees. Please vote May 9th if you live in Pasadena and back great candidates like Cody.

    We are supporting Ornaldo Ybarra, Celestino Perez, Cody Ray Wheeler, Larry Peacock, Sammy Casados, Oscar Del Toro, and Pat Van Houte. These folks will work for the citizens and provide leadership for the future of Pasadena. The are not automatons and bobbleheads for the Mayor.