City Council Campaign Gets Dirty With Anonymous Fliers

An anonymous flier deriding candidate Pamela Comstock was placed on cars around the city.

First time city council candidate Pamela Comstock wasn't ready for the calls she got Tuesday and the kind of dirty politics they represented.

They told her that hundreds of fliers had been placed on cars downtown smearing her and the community group she helped found, Take Back Santa Cruz, a neighborhood group working to cut crime in the city.

"My belief is that if someone doesn't like me, just don't vote for me," said the mother of one, who is running her first city council race.

"To go out of your way and spread lies is indecent. They are taking issue with Take Back Santa Cruz. I want to stand firmly on what I've done with Take Back. I'm really proud of what I've done."

The fliers claim that on May 2, 2010 Take Back Santa Cruz unfairly printed the name of a man they alleged was part of the May Day riots that caused thousands of dollars of damage downtown. It said the man and his family received threats as a result of the claim and he was never accused by police of the crimes.

It goes on to accuse the group of "Vigilantism, Paranoia, And Lies."

"Their lies have stirred up vigilantism and moo-mentality," says the flier. "And they have refused to work with anyone who has a difference of opinion."

There was no signature on the fliers.

"If there is a message they truly believe in, they should put their name on them," said Comstock.

Comstock deferred questions about Take Back's actions to its founder Analicia Cube. Cube said that she did print the name of a person who had made comments inciting violence on May Day and brought media members to the SubRosa Cafe, which police were investigating for its ties to anarchists who threw rocks through downtown windows.

"After the May Day Riot I knew that I had to expose the Black Bloc Anarchists that were a strong under belly in our community," said Cube, who read their posts on the Internet.

"I felt guilty that I had all this information about them wanting to 'Tear down our community brick by brick.'  So, yes on May 2nd I not only wrote a letter but I brought the media to their doors on lower Pacific.  All I did was give the media the facts I had.  They wrote the stories... I don't think all involved in SubRosa or the Anarchistic community were physically running down the street in black unitards.  I do however believe that community leaders are responsible for they preach and teach."

See video of the riot here.

This article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel backs Cube's claim. While people at the cafe denied involvement, its website supported the violence. Even former Mayor Mike Rotkin, a self-proclaimed socialist and one of the more liberal people to serve in Santa Cruz, criticized the SubRosa for hypocrisy.

SubRosa's statement, according to the Sentinel was:

"This is a time for us all to band together, to show support and solidarity with each other in the face of a police state that has always blamed anarchists for everything destructive, while actively trying to prevent people from exercising creativity that would create alternatives to capitalist relations. The people who make this town a fantastic place to be are far more important than the walls and windows of businesses that suck our souls away for their profit."

Wes Modes, named in the article and by Take Back Santa Cruz, is the owner of SubRosa and denied the cafe was responsible for the riot, even though one of those arrested claimed to have worked there.

The flier also criticizes Comstock for raising more than the $26,640 that some candidates think should be the limit for the election. She is the top money raiser at $31,800 as of the first week of October.

"I think that speaks to my message resonating with people," she said. "Where's the crime in supporting a person you believe in?"

Donors to the council race are limited to $325 each.

Comstock, who has a fulltime job with Anteres Audio Technologies, the company that makes Auto-Tune, said that she doesn't want to be in government for the money. The council pays a little more than $300 a week.

"This is about serving the city," she said. "I think service above self is important."

Rosanna October 30, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Cher & Madonna wouldn't be famous without it, which would be great.
Brian November 06, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Analicia November 06, 2012 at 07:40 AM
This person has nothing to do with Take Back Santa Cruz. Other than hijacking our name. We have never met with, organized or planned anything with the people in this group. I wish Watsonville love and safety but not affiliated. Sorry.
Wes Modes November 06, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Frankly, I'm not sure I care whether Dexter Cube or Paul Gutierrez has had challenges with the law in the past. It simply isn't relevant to efforts to come together to make good things happen as a community. Particularly, since it is relatively easy to run afoul of the law, even sometimes when you are doing the right thing. Slavery was legal in this country and freeing a slave was a serious crime (a property crime, no less), a situation from our historical hindsight that looks like morality turned on its head. So not everyone who is branded a criminal is a bad person. This is precisely why it is hard for me to support a myopic focus on legality, laws, and police, and prefer instead community organizing at the grassroots level. Neil Gaiman was talking about freedom of speech when he said it, but it applies equally well to resistance against Santa Cruz' well-meaning but oppressive laws regulating where you can sit, play music, or lie down: "The Law is a blunt instrument. It's not a scalpel. It's a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible." It isn't that we like theft, violence and drugs, but that the methods that some people and groups use to get them off the street, risk the very things matter in this town: acceptance, originality, generosity, art, and magic.
Brian November 06, 2012 at 09:22 PM
well said wes


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