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Ad Watch: Ads slamming Dahle for trips are misleading

Published: Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4A

Assembly candidate Brian Dahle is ripped as a big spender who travels the world on the taxpayers' dime in a radio and direct-mail campaign by a group supporting his opponent, Rick Bosetti. Dahle, a Lassen County supervisor, is seeking the 1st Assembly District seat, winding through parts of nine counties, from Modoc County south to Nevada and a portion of Placer counties.

The ad was produced by Northstate Farm and Business Political Action Committee, whose top donors are California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee and Charles T. Munger Jr.'s Spirit of Democracy. The following is a text of the 60-second radio ad and an analysis by The Bee's Jim Sanders:

Man: I see where Brian Dahle has been globetrotting from Alaska to St. George to Hawaii to attend conventions with other elected officials.

Woman: How come we don't go anywhere?

Man: Because I can't just bill the taxpayers like Brian Dahle does. Besides, you go plenty – didn't I take you to the power tool expo down in Modesto?

Woman: Yeah, well not Hawaii, George.

Man: Listen to this: "Officials and the family members they brought with them can sign up for optional activities, including a Barefoot Fun Cruise or the Magic of Polynesia Dinner Show."

Woman: Why can't we go on a Barefoot Fun Cruise? You could get a Don Ho CD and one of those luau shirts to wear down to the legion hall.

Man: Martha, I'm not a politician like Brian Dahle, who can just run around the globe on the taxpayers' dime.

Woman: Well, with all that experience spending other people's money, I can see why Brian Dahle wants to go to the Assembly.

Man: Oh, Martha.

Woman: What?

ANALYSIS: The ad is correct that Dahle attended national conferences in Hawaii, Alaska and Utah's St. George, but it is wrong that he billed taxpayers for the trips.

The Regional Council of Rural Counties picked up the tab for Dahle, a 16-year Lassen supervisor, to represent rural county supervisors at national conferences of county officials.

No Lassen funds were spent for Dahle's out-of-state trips, county records show.

The ad relies on follow-the-dots logic to accuse Dahle of fleecing the public: Counties get money from taxes, and RCRC gets money from counties, so Dahle's trips must be tied to taxpayers in Lassen and 31 other member counties.

That's misleading.

Here's the bottom line: RCRC dues are based on population, not travel. So Dahle's trips didn't cost Lassen an extra dime.

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