New candidate, old trick

Alameda County Superior Court candidate Louis Goodman’s website, as well as his direct-mail piece that’s hitting mailboxes all over the county, offer up the following quotes:

  • “We endorse Louis Goodman for Alameda County Superior Court Judge.” – Oakland Tribune
  • “Goodman’s experience as a volunteer judge [Judge Pro-tem] in the Alameda County court system – along with his experience as a criminal defense attorney and former district attorney – make him the best choice for the job.” – The Fremont Argus
  • “We are impressed with Goodman’s grasp of court procedure and what it takes to keep a calendar moving.” – The Hayward Daily Review
  • “Unlike his opponents, Goodman has actual experience…” – Tri-Valley Herald
  • “We recommend Louis Goodman for judge – Voters in Alameda County will be electing a new judge to the Superior Court in the June 8 election.” – Alameda Times-Star
  • It sounds like quite a cavalcade of media endorsements, until you realize that all these quotes came from the same endorsement editorial which was published in all of the papers, all of which are part of the Bay Area News Group – East Bay. What Goodman made to look like five endorsements is actually just one.

    He’s certainly not the first to pull this stunt; I wrote about Wilma Chan doing the same thing two years ago as she ran in a Democratic state Senate primary. It still smells pretty funny, though.

    Josh Richman

    Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

    • Gus Morrison

      So, then, why do you continue to pretend there are five different newspapers? It is really one paper with separate editions for different communities, all based in Walnut Creek.

    • Josh Richman

      Yes, we’re commonly owned and operated, but each paper retains its own staff (albeit shrinking ones in recent years) of reporters covering local issues. This one editorial, however, ran in all of the Alameda County papers.

    • I would have expected that someone seeking to be a judge would not stoop to political sleight-of-hand deception. Aren’t judges supposed to represent truth and honesty?

      —Jacob Needleman
      Prof. of Philosophy,emeritus
      San Francisco State University

    • Rex Hesner

      I agree with Dr. Needleman; such deliberate mis-representation calls into question this candidate’s character.

    • ted ford

      didn’t the words appear in each of the five newspapers? I think they did. What’s wrong with a candidate tooting his horn during election season?

    • You have to appreciate the effort. If it is the same editorial board that writes for each paper then it is proper to say that it is the endorsement of 5 different papers after all they could have had the opportunity to write different perspectives for each of their papers audiences. The person for Livermore might not be the best person for Walnut Creek and so forth.

      But if they used 5 different papers to say the same thing then it would be valid to say that the candidate was endorsed by 5 different papers.

    • RR, Uninvited Columnist

      Your copy desk stinks. Does the slot-man edit all the stories by himself?

    • JW

      This seems like a non-issue to me. If he’s sending this piece to someone in Fremont he’s going to want to include the Fremont Argus, if he’s sending it to someone in Oakland he’s going to want to include the Oakland Tribune, and if he’s sending it to someone in Hayward he’s going to want to include the Hayward Daily Review.

      People care more about their local papers than they do about others and it isn’t his fault that Bay Area News Group – East Bay owns all these papers nor is it his fault that they decided to run identical endorsements. Should he have only included the Oakland Tribune when mailing to cities with local newspapers that had printed the same endorsement? Should he have paid exorbitantly more to print out separate mail pieces for each area he was mailing to? Seems to me the bigger problem here is that one company owns 32 different newspapers in California.

    • John W

      What #8 JW said.

      If we’re going to have elected judges, this is about the most harmless type of electioneering “deception” you might expect.

      As retired SCOTUS Justice Sandra J. O’Connor has recently written, elected judges is a bad idea. They should be merit-based appointments made from a group of candidates named by an independent body, as is the case in most states. Voters can have their say on a “yes/no” basis when the judicial term is up for renewal. But we shouldn’t have prospective judges campaigning for election, or interest groups waging campaigns on their behalf.

    • all I wanted to learn about was his record. why can’t we find that easily? I don’t want to vote for someone who lets illegal aliens commit horrendous crimes and go free. Does this lawyer defend illegals? I don’t want to vote for someone who thinks an illegal has the rights of a US citizen. The rights of illegals VS American citizens is a big issue in our nation today. Why can’t we learn about the people this guy has defended. Illegals? Drug dealers? Teachers who abuse their students? I don’t know if he has done this or not. I would like to know that.