Ad Watch: Main Street veers off course with Bera attack piece

Defending Main Street SuperPac, an outside group spending money to support Rep. Doug Ose’s campaign against freshman Rep. Ami Bera, has produced a door hanger carrying deceptive messages about the incumbent’s position on water and his decade-old title while working for Sacramento County.

The political action committee, which has reported spending $130,000 on Ose’s behalf through Friday, is associated with the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership. Ose has been a member of the partnership and served on its board.

Following is text of the handbill and an analysis by Christopher Cadelago of The Bee Capitol Bureau.

Front side: “If you don’t vote … We all lose. Your vote counts. Vote to defend and protect our water supply. Vote to create more jobs. Vote to protect Medicare and Social Security. Doug Ose for Congress (with a picture of the former congressman).”

Other side: “Vote ‘no’ on Bera. Bera supports sending our water to Southern California. Congressman Ami Bera will tell you that he supports protecting our local water supply, but the truth is he supports a tunnel plan that would send 3,000 cubic feet of our water per second to Southern California.

Bera lied about his resume. Congressman Ami Bera claimed that he was Chief Medical Officer of Sacramento County. Bera lied. There is no such thing as a ‘Chief Medical Officer’ in Sacramento County. Can we trust anything Bera says? Vote ‘no’ on Bera.”

Analysis: The claim that Bera supports a tunnel plan to ship water to southern parts of the state is false. Bera and fellow Northern California Democratic Reps. George Miller, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Mike Thompson and Doris Matsui oppose Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed water tunnels. In doing so, the delegation in 2013 urged the state to consider an alternative that contains a North Delta diversion facility and tunnel a third of the capacity of the main plan. While the group said it could be a “viable option,” Bera has never expressly supported that plan. In September, Bera sponsored federal legislation to prevent the federal government from paying for part of the cost of Brown’s twin tunnels project.

The door hanger is also flatly wrong that Bera lied about his title. Bera, a medical doctor, worked at the county for five years with the classification of medical director. Bera oversaw the county’s clinic system. In 2003, he took over as chief of the primary health services division. The appointment carried with it the working title of chief medical officer, announced in a department newsletter at the time.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.