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Undermining Attack and SMRR Spin on Holbrook

November 9, 2002

To the Editor:

I, too, heard about the "hit piece" on City Council candidate Abby Arnold
that Julie Lopez Dad refers to in her November 5 letter ("Hit Piece.").

I understand the piece was based on the similar "hit piece" signed by Dad, Richard Bloom, Ken Genser, Michael Feinstein and Jay Johnson which was distributed at the SMRR convention this summer in an unsuccessful attempt to deny Arnold the SMRR
endorsement. That piece said that Abby, who is a friend of mine, was not worthy to receive the SMRR endorsement, essentially distorting her record of activism to make its case.

While political disagreement and debate are expected and healthy within any
progressive organization, it is extremely disappointing for purported "leaders" to undercut a candidate their own organization has endorsed. Michael Feinstein, for example, actively campaigned for Josefina Aranda against Abby Arnold, the endorsed SMRR candidate. When push comes to shove, one wonders which organization is more important to him, SMRR, which elected him, or the Green Party?

Now it is not clear, and probably never will be clear, who distributed this latest scurrilous attack. What is clear is that Abby is owed an apology by those who authored the original letter, because without that original the most recent item would not exist.

Whether intended or not, that hit piece in August helped elect Bob Holbrook in November. At the least, that tactic showed extremely poor judgment. At worst, it leads me to think that some so-called progressives may be no better than the "old-style" politicians they want to replace. I hope SMRR and its current leaders do some serious soul-searching over this unfortunate episode in Santa Monica politics.

Brad Jones
SMRR Co-chair, 1989-1994

November 7, 2002

Dear Editor,

I find it strange that in your article about Bob Holbrook's reelection to the Santa Monica City Council you quote four members of SMRR but not Dr. Holbrook or anyone who is glad he was reelected. ("Familiar, Targeted and Lucky, Holbrook Wins Fourth Term," Nov. 7)

You could have at least mentioned the notion that some people -- like me -- voted for him because we think he's been doing a good job as councilmember. And I'm not conservative. Actually, neither is Dr. Holbrook.

The SMRR spin (or one of them) that the police hit-piece on Holbrook caused more people to vote for him is pretty silly. The people who were outraged were the ones who were going to vote for him anyway. SMRR supporters may have thought the mailer was sleazy (anyone who knows Holbrook's positions would), but I'm sure it didn't cause any of them to change their votes.

However, the vast majority of voters, knowing almost nothing about Santa Monica politics or the council candidates, would take a mailer from the police attacking a candidate's public safety record very seriously. I'm sure that mailer cost Holbrook votes.

And speaking of costing votes -- hiring Dennis Zane, the head of SMRR, to run the school district's parcel tax campaign lost a lot of support for that measure, with disastrous results. Our school children will pay for that boneheaded decision.

Rose Gilhuly
Santa Monica

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