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Challengers Lying About John Russo

I got this email from other supporters of John Russo, but it speaks for me. I think the negative campaign mailer on John Russo came from ex-Nate Miley Aide and Montclair-Greater Oakland Democratic Club President Pam Drake, as she said a similar message to me at the gym last fall. I guess no one knows about Sandre Swanson taking money from Jack Abramoff's firm, but whatever.

Dear Friend:

As you may know, we are strong supporters of John Russo for State Assembly. We know that John is the person we need in Sacramento. We also know John personally and he has been a passionate, outspoken champion for our kids and for our neighborhoods for nearly 20 years.

The Russo for Assembly campaign is going well. John has done 75 House Parties and has knocked on more than one thousand doors. The campaign is ready for the final push. In fact, the Russo campaign has gone so well that John's opponents have resorted to distorting John's record. WE NEED YOUR HELP to get the truth out about these mailicious distortions because, without a response, many people will believe the lies.

Sandre Swanson's supporters have made two claims against John. One, that in 1997 John supported a huge City Council pay increase; and, two, that in 1997 John supported taking money away from the Kids First program. Both of these claims are false.

Here are the facts:

1) At no time during his nearly twelve years of excellent public service has John ever made a discretionary vote to raise his own salary. To the contrary, when the City Council did have power over its own salaries, John voted against two pay raises and refused to take a raise when he lost on those motions.(Please see the attached Oakland Tribune column for the real story.) As City Attorney, John has no authority over his own salary and, therefore, had no role in setting the City Attorney's salary.

The City Attorney salary is determined by the City Charter. Ironically, given the Swanson's campaign' lies, John Russo is the only elected official in the East Bay to take a voluntary pay cut. During the Oakland budget crisis in 2002-03, John took a voluntary paycut that cost him over $10,000. He did this to encourage others in the City to give a little so as to save jobs. Unfortunatley, not one other City official or employee followed his generous lead.

2) John never voted to take money out of the calculated amount for Kids First set aside. The calculation was based upon the Charter and the interpretation of the Charter by the City Attorney's office and City Staff. John was not the City Attorney at that time. The irony here is that John was one of only 3 Councilmembers who supported the 1996 initiative creating the Kids First set aside. And as City Attorney, John issued opinions regarding the Kids First calculation that corrected the earlier interpretation and has resulted in an additional $1.67 Million Dollars for the Kids First program. (Please go to the City Attorney's website and look under "Notable Cases" to find the truth for yourself.)
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