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Wish you were (not) here

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Monday, August 18th, 2008 at 10:42 am in 2008 November election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

UPDATE 7:44 AM TUESDAY: Gary Agopian tells me this morning via email that Gary Gilbert is not his campaign manager but his campaign chairman. My apologies. The difference? Campaign managers are usually paid, professional consultants. Campaign chairmen (or women) are typically unpaid volunteers. Some do little more than lend their names to the candidates campaigns while others get right in the trenches and lick envelopes. Agopian says Gilbert, as his campaign chairman, will be “coordinating campaign activities like precinct walking, phone banking and organizing volunteers……..all of which he is particularly good at. He isn’t developing mailers or strategy. I have a team of diverse backgrounds and talents. It will take a team like that to win.” Like the candidates themselves, campaigns range in style. Agopian will certainly bring his own approach to running his race, some of which may or may not track with conventional campaign practices.

Contra Costa supervisor candidate Gary Agopian is trying a new kind of fundraiser: He’s not inviting you.
Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover

Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover

Contra Costa supervisor candidate Gary Agopian

Contra Costa supervisor candidate Gary Agopian

No rubber chicken. No wine in plastic cups. He calls it the “unparty,” an event held anytime you choose because you don’t have to go. Instead, you pay his campaign and not to attend an event he is not holding. He asks on his invitation, “How much would I be willing to pay not to have to go? … $10? $100?”

Wow. I guess that cuts down significantly on the catering bill.

Click here to download the invitation.

It’s an interesting little twist.

Agopian recently named Antioch activist Gary Gilbert as his campaign manager chairman, a man who has demonstrated considerable organizing skills around Antioch’s dispute with the county over management of housing subsidies for the poor. But Gilbert has no experience running a political campaign. On the other hand, Agopian lacks money to hire a high-profile campaign manager and, of course, it costs money up front to put on fundraisers.

Agopian is challenging incumbent Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg.

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  • RR

    Politicos will get the joke but newcomers won’t. Overall,a dumb idea. His supporters would enjoy meeting likeminded voters and Agopian confirms he’s underfinanced. Only “progressives” enthusiastically support losers.

  • Rewgolfer

    Agopian is the “uncandidate”. I like it. When you’re underfunded you’ve got to try something.

  • Renegade GOP

    Well we won’t be calling him undefeated. Federal will crush this guy.

  • Troublemaker

    Interesting. This is one of those fundraising ideas that should have been left on the dry erase board.

    Not only is the message bad, but it reflects poorly on the messenger or in this case the candidate.

  • Arne Simonsen

    The comments so far have been a bit hard on Gary Agopian.

    This was nothing more than a fundraising idea by one of his supporters which I find a bit more fun than just getting “cold calls for contributions”.

    Agopian has many neighborhood fundraisers planned where he will be meeting constituents.

    As for Renegade GOP’s comment, a look back at the Primary shows that 67% of voters in District 5 voted for someone other than Glover.

    City council members have supporters and with 4 out of 5 in Oakley, 3 (probably 4) out of 5 in Antioch and at least 1 (if not 2) in Pittsburg supporting Agopian, the “crush” is heading the other way.

  • Dee Vieira

    Thanks Arne. I know you haven’t lost your sense of humor and can appreciate this kind of fundraiser, thank goodness! You will have a long life!

    Sometimes people get so serious over political issues that they loose their sense of humor. Life is too short, lighten up everybody!

    This is one of many fundraising opportunities that was geared toward folks who are inundated with fundraisers or to those who want to help but don’t have the time to come to an event. Gary will be all around meeting and greeting, be assure of that!

    I can’t take too serious folks who aren’t brave enough to put their names to their comments. Especially when they call themselves “Renegade” which means: “To become a deserter or an outlaw” and “Troublemaker” which means: “a person who causes difficulties, distress, worry, etc., for others, esp. one who does so habitually as a matter of malice”

    Supporters like you, who need enemies? Yikes!

  • Troublemaker

    Arne,

    Be careful about using that 67 percent against Glover line. That sword cuts both ways.

    It is only a matter of time before Glover points out that 80 percent of voters in District 5 voted against Agopian.

    I know the spin, but that does not change the fact which will resonate with voters.

    I think this blog was intended to point out the lack of experience and money. Both play a major part in Contra Costa politics and it is a hard thing to overcome. Agopian has a lot of catching up to do, and this was not necessarily a step forward.

    Something to consider for both sides when talking about who has the “crush” momentum.

  • Patty O’Day

    I agree with Arne. I think it was a cute, fun idea. I hope others see it that way as well. I bet many will.

    I also agree with Dee. I have said this before. If you are too afraid to use your own name when you throw pot shots, then I totally disregard what you have to say. You are like the people that don’t vote, but always complain about things. In my view, you don’t get an opinion.

    As far as Agopian is concerned, he may be behind on the the fundraising, but obviously, that is not because he is not being supported or is lazy or has a bad campaign. It is because he did not know he was running!

    Before the primary, his numbers were climbing quickly. He lost the primary, however, and did not continue to raise funds. He had no idea that Erik Nunn would be tragically killed and he would be thrust back into the race.

    Gary Agopian is a great candidate, and the voters are starting to notice him. I went to his first fundraiser during the primary. He had almost 200 people there. I have gone to lots of fundraisers for candidates. I have never seen that many people at a fundraiser for a local candidate. I think he will do just fine.

  • Irishlass

    As a person who attendee a long list of community events, lunches, dinners, etc. I truly appreciate the uninvite! I have a packed calendar and I find great value in a candidate that recognizes most of us are ‘required’ to make the rounds. I will pay a nice amount to ‘not attend’

    As to Lisa’s catering comment. Many people who donate to charities and non-profits do not understnad who much is ‘lost’ putting on the event and how mush more would be made if they simply sent in the amount they would spend at the event.

    Finally – it may be a ‘slam’ to comment on fundraising but at least Gary Agopian is not as beholden as Federal is. i prefer grassroots and innovation to being ignored or at worse not considered a ‘donor’ so my needs do not count. For Glover – concerns seem to stop at the edge of Pittsburg. Maybe he should have thought about the entire district.

  • Dee Vieira

    Thank you Patty, the comments you make (below) says it perfectly! Gary had already shifted gears when the primary was over. Now we are basically starting over. He WILL win! He is grounded, committed to the district, sincere, and healthy. He will work hard for all of us. I fully trust he will do a great job as our next ditrict 5 supervisor.

    Patty O’Day Says:
    As far as Agopian is concerned, he may be behind on the the fundraising, but obviously, that is not because he is not being supported or is lazy or has a bad campaign. It is because he did not know he was running!

    Before the primary, his numbers were climbing quickly. He lost the primary, however, and did not continue to raise funds. He had no idea that Erik Nunn would be tragically killed and he would be thrust back into the race.

  • Dee Vieira

    Thank you Irishlass!
    We appreciate your support and confidence with this kind of fundraiser! ;)

  • Troublemaker

    Interesting comments…attack the messenger not the message. Like that has not been done before!

    Please pay no attention to my anonymity, I can assure you I vote. The handle I use (troublemaker) is an old one from days past which has nothing to do with causing trouble, it was coined as an antonym (opposite of a troublemaker).

    As far as my opinion “not mattering”, well you would be wrong on that too!

    I think Mr. Agopian has a chance, but the reality is that “cute” and “fun” is not going to win him an election.

    I believe that is three strikes.

  • Renegade GOP

    Troublemaker can you believe these folks. Arne, Patty and Dee don’t like our names. They don’t like what we post. Too Bad. Hey in Dee’s eyes I am a deserter or an outlaw. Well I like that. Maybe if the GOP had more deserters they would not be in such a desperate condition. As for outlaw I love it. I guess if my name was Irishlass that would be OK with these three.

    Arne please… your statistics are as bad as your 2006 campaign. You will never be more that Antioch’s Dr Strange Love. Glover will crush Agopian that is it. Just like soon to be Senator Desaulnier destroyed you.
    It is difficult for a real politician
    (check Guy Houston) to try and defeat a sitting supervisor. Now you think this Agopian guy has a chance. HAHAHAHAHA! !! that is funny. It is over!
    Get used to it.

    And get used to the fact that Troublemaker and I will say what we want and I don’t care what you think.