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Buchanan free health fair mailer draws ire



A Danville mental health clinic director is taking umbrage at Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan’s taxpayer-funded mailer that advertises Saturday’s free community health fair at the San Ramon Regional Medical Center in San Ramon.

“I run a small community for-profit behavioral health care business and I would love to have the California Assembly and tax dollars pay for some advertising for us as well,” said William Shryer, clinical director of the Diablo Behavioral Healthcare in an email.

The San Ramon Regional Medical Center is owned by Tenet Healthcare Corporation. While the screenings offered at the fair will be free, Shryer argues that Buchanan’s mailer amounts to taxpayer-funded advertising for a private company.

Buchanan is running for re-election and is expected to face a tough general opponent, San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson. I scanned the state campaign finance database, and she did not receive direct campaign contributions from Tenet in her first election in 2008 nor has she reported any dollars from the firm so far in her 2010 re-election campaign.  (That does not preclude the possibility that Tenet contributed to a PAC that gave her money.  I didn’t dig that deep.)

Yeah. Okay. But I’m not persuaded that the benefits to Tenet outweigh the benefits to folks who will have the a chance to obtain free screenings for heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure or diabetes. With all the people out of work these days, free health care is a pretty good deal.

Buchanan’s chief of staff Michelle Henry described the mailer as one of a series of brochures sent to residents of District 15 that advertise free community fairs such as a conference on how to recognize scammers that target senior citizens.

Her office is organizing several additional health fairs this spring and will host a job information fair in Livermore in mid-March.

All have or will involve mailing out fliers to district residents. They also send out emails but not everyone, especially the seniors and low income folks, have access to the Internet.

Access to publicly funded mail is all part of the power of incumbency and nearly every elected official in the nation takes advantage of it. I’ve seen legislator-sponsored  fairs on everything from preventing child abuse to averting mortgage foreclosure.

Unlike the San Ramon Regional Medical Center event, where the company is organizing the fair, Buchanan’s staff is bringing together he health care providers and other resources for the upcoming events.

“Since the San Ramon Regional Center was already putting on a fair, it meant we didn’t have to reinvent it,” Henry said. ”

Shryer says he called Buchanan’s office and asked about participating in Saturday’s event and was told that it was Tenet’s show.

It sounds as though he should call back and see about getting on the list for one of the other fairs.

Posted on Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Assembly District 15 | 2 Comments »

AD15: GOP challenger outraises incumbent Dem





Republican San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson, in his second try for the state Assembly District 15 seat, has outpaced Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, in the first major campaign finance report.

Wilson had raised $148,314 as of Dec. 31, according to the latest campaign finance report. He also loaned his campaign an additional $14,000.

Buchanan reported $86,136 in contributions but has made no personal loans to her campaign.

It’s far too early to read much into these numbers.

Buchanan was busy last year running for the 10th Congressional District. She lost badly after investing $1.1 of her own money into the Sept. 1 special primary congressional election, finishing with just 12 percent of the vote. (Democrat John Garamendi eventually won the seat.)

Critics say she is vulnerable and will have trouble raising money after such a high-profile loss and a demonstrated willingness to write big personal checks.

But Buchanan, an incumbent with plenty of name identification, is still the Democrats’ best hope to keep a seat they wrestled from Republicans two years ago. It seems unlikely that Dems will abandon her. And unless a viable Democrat emerges to run against her in the primary — and no one has surfaced yet — she has plenty of time to put together a war-chest before the general election in November.

Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Assembly District 15 | 8 Comments »

Wilson hires big guns in AD15 challenge

Abram Wilson

Abram Wilson

San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson has hired some familiar names in Republican campaign circles to run his second bid run for Assembly District 15.

San Diego-based Duane Dichiara will be his chief political strategist in the 2010 June primary while his former opponent, Judy Biviano Lloyd, will serve as his top fundraising adviser. Lloyd ran unsuccessfully against Wilson in the 2008 Assembly District 15 primary; Wilson lost to Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan of Alamo in the 2008 general election.

Assembly District 15 is one of a handful of competitive partisan seats in California. Republicans lost the seat in 2008 — the last GOP-held seat in the Bay Area — and they are expected to put a great deal of effort into reclaiming it next year.

Read on for Wilson’s press release: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Saturday, October 17th, 2009
Under: 2010 election, Assembly District 15 | No Comments »