In September, a campaign committee called “Safe Streets and Quality Neighborhoods in Daly City” was formed to oppose Judith Christensen, who is running for re-election, and supports incumbent Sal Torres and neophyte David Canepa.
So far, the committee, which consists of Daly City firefighters and police officers, has kept mum.
Christensen anticipates that it will release a “hit piece” on her close to the Nov. 4 election to dissuade voters.
“That’s the traditional tactic of that kind of committee,” she said. “They couch their language very carefully so they can’t be sued, but you can say a lot. They can accuse you but they can pose it as a question.”
Christensen doesn’t know what she’ll be accused of, but she is warning voters that something will come. She said the suspense is a little scary.
“I’m telling people to please call me,” she said. “If you hear something that doesn’t sound like me, call me and ask me. Let me get my side of the story. I’m putting out my positive message, what I’ve done and what I’m going to do for the next four years.”
As of Sept. 30, the committee had raised $30,000, according to Rebecca Ayson of the Daly City clerk’s office.
Joel Abelson, president of the Professional Firefighters Association and head of the group, said the goal is to be positive. But if the situation arises and it thinks citizens need to be informed of something, the group will be vocal.
“It’s about educating people on a factual level,” he said. “Nothing has been finalized yet as far as our message, but we would love to give Judith plenty of time to respond.”
Abelson said the committee is supporting Torres and Canepa because of their experience.
“Daly City needs a council to really work together and get things accomplished,” he said.
Abelson disputes the notion, raised by Christensen, that the money the committee is raising is coming from outside interests.
“We’re completely a transparent group,” he said. “We’re not going to fool voters.”
Meanwhile, Canepa said he wasn’t involved in forming the committee and doesn’t want to be associated with negative campaigns.
All three signed a code of fair campaign practices before starting their campaigns for the city’s two four-year seats.
“I don’t need to do that,” he said. “I think we’re in a real good position right now to win this thing solely on my merit. I would totally urge the people that, if there’s an attack on Sal or Judith, not to do it.”
Torres also isn’t affiliated with the committee. He said he’s surprised at Christensen’s “naivete” about the nature of political campaigns.
“This is what we signed up for,” he said. “I’m a recipient of a lot of negative or untruthful comments.”
“There are groups formed everyday to defeat measures … to promote or oppose propositions,” he said. “It’s part of the political process.”
Torres said he remains focused on his own campaign and not what outside groups may be planning.
“This is the first time in a long time that this city has three good candidates to choose from,” he said.