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Ad Watch: Munger ad attacking Ken Cooley on taxes somewhat misleading

Published: Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Friday, Apr. 11, 2014 - 11:00 pm

Democratic Assembly candidate Ken Cooley was blasted this week as a big supporter of tax increases in a TV ad by a group backing his Republican opponent, Peter Tateishi. The 30-second ad is running on multiple broadcast channels in the 8th Assembly District, which stretches from Citrus Heights to the Sacramento County line south of Wilton.

Spirit of Democracy, a group funded largely by Charles T. Munger Jr., spent about $270,000 on the TV ad, records show. The following is a description of the ad and an analysis by The Bee's Jim Sanders:

The ad replicates a TV news crew, with Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association serving as anchor and Renee Taylor, a Sacramento Municipal Utility District director, as a reporter.

Coupal: "Here is what Assembly candidate Ken Cooley wrote in June, 'As an elected official I have lent my vigorous support to tax measures.' Cooley even supported the largest tax increase in California history – vigorously. And that's why we vigorously support Peter Tateishi for state Assembly."

Taylor: "As a local park commissioner, Peter Tateishi improved our parks without raising taxes. Ken Cooley? He supported a new tax on parks."

Narrator: "Peter Tateishi, state Assembly. New ideas, not new taxes."


The ad is correct that Cooley, a Rancho Cordova councilman, wrote in a candidate questionnaire that he has "lent my vigorous support to tax measures" to support public services.

He also wrote that he'd "advocate adequate taxes and funding as necessary to preserve and safeguard quality community life."

As an official of the League of California Cities, Cooley expressed support in 2009 for a ballot measure containing $16 billion in temporary taxes to ease a gaping budget hole.

It's also true he once supported a property assessment to help parks.

The ad says the Republican candidate, Tateishi, "improved our parks without raising taxes." But Tateishi, as a Carmichael Recreation and Park District board member in 2002, supported extending a utility users tax and a hotel tax that generated $17.5 million annually.

Years later, Tateishi voted to ask Sacramento County supervisors to impose a park impact fee on new construction in Carmichael. A fee of $5,290 per new home was adopted by supervisors in 2010.

Tateishi has not joined most GOP legislative candidates in signing a national no-new-taxes pledge.

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