FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: An open letter from City Council Candidate Adrian Fine to the Palo Alto Community regarding campaign finance and negative campaigning
Palo Alto, CA - October, 24, 2016
This past weekend, a mailer that attacks me directly arrived in the mailboxes of thousands of Palo Alto households. It was sent by City Council candidates Lydia Kou and Arthur Keller and told voters “We don’t need Adrian Fine”. These same candidates had recently sent out negative emails attacking me and produced a negative video about me that they promoted on Facebook. I’m disappointed by their actions, and I don’t think these negative tactics reflect the Palo Alto I know.
The Palo Alto I know is kind. We sometimes disagree, but we do it with a fundamental spirit of kindness. I don’t think that these negative ads are kind, nor do others. An esteemed group of former Palo Alto Mayors wrote “we are deeply concerned about the unprecedented role that large contributions are playing in this year’s election .… if attacks and negative campaign tactics are coming.” And then as the Palo Alto Weekly states: “The mayors' suspicions became amplified after an online ad began making its way around social media targeting Fine.”
The Palo Alto I know is honest. At home and at Palo Alto schools, I learned to tell the truth. I have indeed expressed a desire to have more housing near transit -- to allow people to live close to their work, to allow older residents to retire here, and to deal with our crisis of affordability. Never have I said we should have high-rise offices, nor have I advocated for luxury condos. Ads published by Kou and Keller were dishonest and factually incorrect.
The Palo Alto I know starts small and dreams big. Things start in a garage -- literally or physically -- with a few devoted people. And that’s how I’ve funded my campaign. There are 11 people running for Palo Alto City Council and only Kou and Keller have taken contributions from donors that gave more than $5000. 80% of Keller's money and 85% of Kou's money comes from a few mega-donors. The Fine campaign is funded by over 180 individual contributors, from all walks of life, with an average of $280 per donation.
To Lydia Kou and Arthur Keller, who continue to “go low”: Lydia, if you have any positive ideas - please put these in your next mailer. Arthur, we’ve worked together constructively in the past, and this behavior from you is unbecoming.
These attack ads have no place in Palo Alto. I am happy to have an issues-based conversation any time with any community members, and also with Lydia and Arthur. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org; my phone number is (650) 285-3694; I look forward to hearing from you.