Until late last week 2014’s City Council campaigns had been refreshingly free of negative campaigning, but the Fullerton Police Officers Association simply has too much money not to spend it slinging mud at its chosen targets. FPOA financed robocalls and mailers to Fullerton households focused on Mayor Pro Tem Greg Sebourn with a scattershot litany of accusations and misrepresentations about his record. The robocall ended with a hilariously over the top pronouncement that “we all” had had enough of him. (The call was immediately and predictably followed by another, this one featuring incumbent Councilmember and Curt Pringle lobbying firm employee Jennifer Fitzgerald, urging voters to cast ballots for FPOA-endorsed Larry Bennett).
The center piece of the accusations against Mr. Sebourn was his refusal to join the perennial voting block of Doug Chaffee, Jan Flory, and lobbying firm employee Jennifer Fitzgerald in voting to remove Barry Levinson from the Parks and Recreation Commission. The trio, none of whom are friendly with Mr. Sebourn, even his fellow Republican lobbyist employee Jennifer Fitzgerald, must have known that he would be unlikely to provide the required fourth vote needed to remove an appointed commissioner. And, indeed, despite publicly dressing down Mr. Levinson for his alleged behavior, Mr. Sebourn instead opted to leave the job to Bruce Whitaker, who had appointed Mr. Levinson in the first place.
The police union were ready and waiting, and shortly thereafter accused him of not caring about the woman who accused Mr. Levinson of intimidating and verbally assaulting her following a Council meeting, even though the District Attorney opted to not file charges in the matter. The timing of the scheduled vote, two weeks prior to an election, and the failure of the Fullerton Police Department to provide a report on the investigation until just hours before the vote itself, suggested that Mr. Sebourn had been set up royally. Sunday’s FPOA-financed pink colored door hangers aimed at female voters ham-handedly hammered home the message that Greg Sebourn was willing to abandon a victimized woman, and therefore ought not to be re-elected.
Almost nobody likes negative campaigning, but the sad truth is that it works with enough of the electorate to make it worthwhile for PACs like the one operated by the police union, who really want Larry Bennett on the City Council instead of incumbent Greg Sebourn, (or any number of other candidates in the race). Whatever individual voters think about Greg Sebourn’s tenure on the Fullerton City Council, they should consider the obvious fact that in this election cycle in Fullerton, only the city’s police are eager and willing to wallow in the mud.