Mysterious, Crude Anti-Newsom Mailers Go Out Again


Gavin_Newsom_Oggling-1.jpg
Once again, a misleading and anonymous anti-Gavin Newsom mailer featuring this eye-catching image has landed in Californians' mail boxes
A political postcard depicting Mayor Gavin Newsom with what appears to be a rectum for a mouth -- and also featuring the above, undoctored, photo -- has been sent to homes around the state. The mailers implore recipients to contact political consultants Garry South and Clint Reilly, and list Oakland political consultant Larry Tramutola's office as the return address. Reilly and South told the Los Angeles Daily News they're mystified and Tramutola told SF Weekly he has no idea what's going on.

"Because the return address for all these things is my office, all the ones that don't get delivered come to me. I've got at least 30 or 35," said Tramutola. "I called Clint and he had no idea. I have no clue -- I think someone is trying to be cute or clever. I don't know what they're hoping to accomplish, candidly."

The mailers are nearly identical to a series of anti-Gavin postcards sent out in 2007, which also featured the above photo of Newsom. Instead of including South and Reilly's phone numbers, however, the '07 mailers instructed recipients to phone San Francisco political movers-and-shakers Jim Sutton and Eric Jaye. Both Sutton and Jaye's wives received a copy of that anti-Newsom mailer -- and Tramutola says his wife received a copy of the current incarnation at the couple's Piedmont home. What's more, both the '07 and '10 postcards were emblazoned with the Web sites www.gavinsucks.com and www.gavinwatch.com.

The Gavin Watch Web site has not been updated since 2007; SF Weekly's e-mail to its anonymous keeper has not yet been returned. the Gavin Sucks site is not currently live -- though it was apparently previously maintained by blogger Dean Barbella, who authors similarly named Gavin-bashing Web sites. These, too, haven't been updated in eons. SF Weekly was unable to reach Barbella.

In 2007, incidentally, Newsom's mayoral campaign pointed the finger at neither gavinwatch.com nor gavinsucks.com for the lurid mailers, but simply at "A Newsom hater."

It is unclear whether the Newsom-hater of 2010 has run afoul of California campaign law. Roman Porter, the executive director of the Fair Political Practices Commission, told the Daily News that anyone spending upwards of $1,000 on political mailers or sending out 200 or more of them must register with his organization. And no one has in this case.

Tramutola said that he's heard of mailers arriving at homes all over the state -- and the sheer number of undeliverable postcards piling up in his office indicates "a lot" more than 200 were sent out.

But as to why he's involved and what's going on here -- it's a mystery.

"Honest to God," says Tramutola, "I don't know."


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