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Concord blogger calls political columnist biased

HalfwaytoConcord.com blogger Bill Gram-Reefer is taking me to task for poking fun at write-in Contra Costa County supervisor candidate Steve Thomas’ cut-and-paste gaff while failing to mention that incumbent Contra Costa Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho did a “similar” thing on an endorsement mailer.

(By way of background, Piepho is on the ballot opposite Guy Houston, a state GOP Assemblyman from San Ramon who will term out this year. Gram-Reefer supports Houston.)

Well, it wasn’t similar. It wasn’t even close.

Thomas recycled campaign literature from his state Assembly race but forgot to change some of the words. I had a little fun at his expense in my Sunday column and Thomas got some free media. As a last-minute, write-in candidate who must depend on people to physically write his name down on the ballot, Thomas probably got the better end of the deal.

Gram-Reefer points out that a Piepho re-election campaign mailer contained endorsement letters and pictures from both Democrat State Sen. Tom Torlakson and former GOP Assemblywoman Lynne Leach. (Visit his site to see the mailers, which Gram-Reffer kindly scanned and posted.)

Horrors. A Democrat and a Republican on the same mailer! Leach must be horribly embarrassed, Reefer writes.

Does he know for fact that Leach is embarrassed? Do he know whether or not Leach knew her glowing endorsement letter of Piepho would appear on the same mailer with Torlakson’s equally glowing endorsement letter? I’ve called to ask her. I’ll keep you posted.

And what about Torlakson? Did he shudder when he saw his picture in the vicinity of Leach’s smiling face? Was he told he would appear with a Republican. (Oh yeah, Piepho is Republican.)

To accuse me of bias because I failed to make a comparison between two entirely dissimilar situations is absurd.

UPDATE 4:30 P.M.: I just talked via phone with former GOP Assemblywoman Lynne Leach and she is neither embarrassed or distraught.

“The county supervisor race is nonpartisan and candidates will always have support from both Republicans and Democrats,” Leach said. “This is ridiculous.”

After all, Leach said, Houston has the endorsement of Democrat and Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer and no one is complaining about seeing Kramer’s name next to Republicans on various endorsement lists.

“I endorsed Mary very early on and I was proud to endorse her long before running for this race was even a twinkle in Guy’s eye,” she added. “I know how hard it is to work to get into these positions, learn the issues and work with people who don’t always see eye-to-eye.”

No, she didn’t know the final form of the mailer and she didn’t ask. She wasn’t worried about it.

As for Gram-Reefer’s blog comments, Leach is not impressed.

“If the situation were reversed and Torlakson and I had endorsed Houston, Gram-Reefer would have fallen all over himself to say nice things to say about it on his blog,” Leach said. “He’s a front man for Houston and he should just admit it.”

UPDATE: 9:47 a.m., Tuesday

This dust-up is even dumber than it first appeared. Torlakson and Leach never appeared on the same mailer. Each wrote endorsement letters that appeared in mailers of similar design but the Torlakson mailer went to Democrats and Leach’s went to Republicans. Households with one or more of each party received them both.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen