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Usual Suspects

Primary Colors

With the March 26 primary on the horizon, the B.S. is flying fast and thick. Most of it this week has been aimed at Monica Marvin, the Democratic Party's endorsed candidate in the 1st Congressional District race. On Monday, candidate and former San Francisco Supervisor Carol Ruth Silver dropped by this office to, well, shall we say demand that we take a look at her latest TV ad, belittling Marvin as a prima donna. Silver, a born-again Healdsburg resident who has been branded by the local pundits as a carpetbagger, also is going out of her way point out that Marvin is taking huge sums of campaign contributions from outside of the district. Indeed, the latest figures from the Federal Election Commission show that Marvin--a small business lawyer from St. Helena--has gathered more greenbacks than any ambitious carpetbagger could carry in one small satchel. Her receipts total $232,090. Of those contributors listed in the latest report, outside donors outnumber local ones by nearly six to one. And where is all that outside money coming from? Members of EMILY's List, the Washington, D.C.-based group that helps fund pro-choice Democratic women running for Congress. Marvin, who a lot of Demos hope will unseat Rep. Frank Riggs, R-Windsor, is one of six such candidates this year to be included in a mailing to EMILY's (the acronym stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast) 35,000 members nationwide. While the organization itself has kicked in about $4,600, its members have generously opened their wallets, sending in checks from as far away as Maine and Florida, where it's a safe bet nobody has ever heard of Marvin. All that EMILY's List cash is causing fellow candidate Dennis Chunning to grouse. On Monday, he fired off a fax accusing Marvin of soliciting illegal campaign funds by asking supporters who already had sent the $1,000 maximum contribution allowed by the feds also to send a check to EMILY's List earmarked for Marvin, thus circumventing the FEC policy. Not so, says EMILY's List spokesman Frank Wilkerson. The document in question--a two-page candidate profile--originated with EMILY's List. Any checks made out to Marvin's campaign and sent through the group are then forwarded to her campaign and reported to the FEC. "Despite Mr. Chunning's best efforts to paint this as a nefarious conspiracy, I'm afraid there isn't one," Wilkerson says with a loud laugh.


He's Outta Here

Judicial candidate Don Kocalis has bailed out of the race to fill retiring Superior Court Judge Rex Sater's vacated seat. On Friday, a local newspaper reported that Kocalis had rushed to complete his DUI probation, stemming from a 1991 arrest in which Santa Rosa police had found marijuana in his car, and that a messy six-year Santa Cruz divorce and child-custody dispute between the candidate and his former wife had alleged that Kocalis had physically abused his son. Then Kocalis and rivals Mark Tansil, a Municipal Court judge, and Lawrence Buchanan, a Healdsburg attorney, appeared that morning on Alan Stock's KSRO radio talk show. A caller said she was upset by the DUI story and wondered if Kocalis had "lied" about anything else. Chuckles all around as Stock explained that if Kocalis were hiding the truth, he surely wouldn't reveal that now. Then the same caller asked the other two candidates if they had ever seen Kocalis drinking heavily at campaign functions. Pause. Well, said Buchanan, actually he had seen Kocalis shit-faced on a couple of occasions and doubted if Kocalis could have passed a field sobriety test. Pregnant pause. Then Tansil simply said that he hadn't been looking for that type of behavior and had no comment. A stunned Kocalis later denied Buchanan's allegations, but not before claiming that he had seen Buchanan stewed at the recent Democratic crab feed. Phew! On Saturday, Kocalis announced he had quit the race in the best interest of his family. His name still will appear on the ballot. Meanwhile, Tansil scored big points on the radio debate just for showing good taste in the midst of all that shameless mudslinging.


Do as I Say . . .

Call it the "guilty but with an excuse" plea. Michaela Alioto acknowledged this week that, yes, she had been registered in San Francisco but had not voted in the '94 and '95 elections, as rival congressional candidate Monica Marvin revealed last week. We assume Alioto will vote next week.

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From the Mar. 21-27, 1996 issue of the Sonoma Independent

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