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Reno City Council Election – Donna Graves, Sharon Zadra, Jessica Sferrazza Revealed.

May 13, 2010 Leave a comment

[NOTE:   According to Donna, someone flagged my post about fire fighter pay, which then removed my other posts including the fire fighter one and stopped me from posting any more messages.  What this “friend of Donna’s” did was create an unnecessary situation which led to suspicions on my part and Donna having to resort to well-deserved self defense actions to counter my accusations outlined below.  So, I must apologize to her for reacting to the flagging actions and automatically assuming the worst about her.]

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Today’s aftermath from someone flagging a post of mine on Donna Grave’s FB page marks, yet again, a very distinct turn-around for Donna Graves (her FB Link) in my mind. 

Here’s what happened on the 5/12/10:  Shortly after I posted a question about her husbands pay as a fire fighter (a Captain no less), and pointed out that paying them $200,00 and more per year (not including health insurance, retirement and overtime) was highway robbery (RGJ link)… I was immediately banned from posting on her FB site and all my posts/questions were removed.

Of course, I complained and I then assumed the worst (as she has deleted my posts before without explanation), wrote a blog entry here and left the matter alone.  Donna then demanded an apology which I told her I would provide in a public forum (i.e. her FB page and my blog), if she could provide ample evidence or an explanation about what happened, and that the issue would then be over in my mind.

Later, Donna told me that someone had “flagged” my post, which apparently deletes that post and then hides other posts from the same author, while also banning further posting until the FB account owner re-approves the poster to make comments again.  This sounded quite reasonable to me, so I decided that I was not going to squabble over that matter any further, after which I posted my apology and simply let it go.

Well, I log in today and find my apology that I posted on her FB page gone and the following FB email waiting for me:

May 13 at 6:37am

Derrick

I read you blog and am appauled at your inability to appologize. This election is not about the unions, which again I will remind you that I do NOT have the Local 731 (Fire fighters) endorsement. It is clear that you are only supporting candidates that have a military background. Your agenda has come into focus. I have always said I believe that the fire fighters need to give concessions, I was even quoted on RGJ as saying so.  I would recommend you look at the source you are using as truth, a letter to the editor.   None of the facts were checking in that letter. 

As you refuse to write the truth in your blogs and have become abbusive, I will no longer allow you to post on my fan page, I will no longer answer your email. Mr. Johnson, the truth is something everone is entilted to and the truth is not something you are capable of writing.

Now, there are more than a few things wrong with her claims – in fact, I would say that either she is lying or somehow she has “unintentionally” distorted in her own mind what has actually occurred.  Personally, I dont think she believed I would post an apology to her and do so publicly in a way that everyone could see – I think this is the real reason why she sent the above message to me and DELETED my apology on her FB fanpage.

Here are my rebuttals: 

1) I provided a VERY cordial and sensible apology on her FB page, which she deleted this morning… out of embarrassment perhaps?;

2) I never claimed she has received the local 731 Fire Fighters endorsement, so I have no idea where her comment is coming from;

3) I have not endorsed anyone except Ed Hawkins for Ward 4, and I clearly stated at the end of my first revision of this blog that I did not know anything  about Gonzales, the military candidate she is referring to;

4) She is correct about saying Fire Fighters need to give concessions, but she has not mentioned the EXHORBITANT PAY that they receive, which does not include overtime, healthcare and over-time pay;

5) She implies the letter to the editor is filled with lies, yet she provides no rebutting evidence to prove that is so;

6) I have been critical of Donna because she has danced around questions I have asked, using semantics and slightly off-topic answers to claim she’s addressed my questions, but I have not been abusive in any way;

7) As for truth, well, that is not a matter left open to subjective opinion.  I am very cognizant of the need for truth, honesty and integrity – however, I am now quite sure Donna has little grasp of these matters after reading her last and supposedly “final” communication to me.

Clearly, SOMEONE did not like me questioning fire fighter pay and my calling attention to the fact that she and her husband have a nice fat check coming to them each month just on his salary alone.  Are Donna’s supporters afraid of such things being pointed out and how far will these supporters go to protect her from scrutiny?  Is Donna truly appalled or is she embarrassed by the pay information being brought to light or her behavior and is she merely lashing out at me now out of frustration?

Moving on….

As far as Sharon Zadra (FB Page) and Jessica Sferrazz (FB Page) are concerned, neither of them have bothered to answer the same questions that I’ve posted to Donna Graves.  In fact, both have deleted my questions without comment and Sharon actually lied to me claiming she had sent me a private message answering my questions.  At least Donna has had some level of courage to TRY and answer my questions, even if those attempts failed to actually answer what I was asking.

What questions have I asked that are so offensive?  Well, they went something like this:

1) If illegal’s & their supporters marched on City Hall demanding that Reno become a haven city where police and other officials were prohibited from enforcing immigration laws, would you cave in to this pressure and vote to make Reno such a city?

2) What do you think about Arizona’s recent immigration law, including the amendments?

3) What is your political philosophy, left-right-center, and how does this philosophy change or guide your voting?

Folks, we can no longer let politicians get away with presenting trite pet issues and slogans to trick voters into supporting them.  I am advocating for a different way of approaching politics, which starts by asking candidates and current office holders what they believe in and why.   We need to find out what their political philosophies are and consider how those philosophies and aspirations to higher office will impact us before we “let them in” to be our representatives.  Clearly, doing things how we’ve always done them just isn’t working anymore.

[Edited] After Donna called me a hypocrite in an earlier email, I got to thinking about what the real issue is that got her or one of her supporters to have enough heartburn to have my fire fighter salary post deleted and me banned from posting comments. 

[Edited] I think, at the heart of the issues is this thing called INTEGRITY.  I may have tweaked someone’s “nose,” so to speak , on this issue by calling it to attention in a public way which could open Donna up to scrutiny where her motivations to run for public office are concerned.  At the very least, I called into question a very major issue concerning public employees (hiring, firing, lay-offs) and their stability as city employees.  Something that could directly impact Donna and her husband if more layoffs occur. 

[Edited] Donna has publicly stated that she is against the firing/lay-offs of 200 city employees, even though this reduction in city personnel may in fact be a legitimate cost-cutting measure.  Donna clearly disagrees with this method of addressing budget shortfalls, but she does have a point concerning how the City spends tax dollars and seems to have funds to buy parks and golf courses, when that money would be better used elsewhere.

[Edited] As I told Donna, the issue is integrity (which is applicable to every candidate for every office across America) and think my point is best made by posting exactly what I said to her in private, so here it is:

May 12 at 2:08pm

You see what’s going on here? You may have different issues to put in front of voters, but from what I can see – at the core of who you are – you are no different than Jessica or Sharon.

The issue is integrity.

Deleting my post on your FB page about fire fighter pay sparked something – it showed you have no more integrity than Sharon, Jessica and the lot of them now in office. It may have even showed that your agenda, in part, might be about protecting your own family income. Maybe? Maybe not – but it does raise the question and it should in other people’s minds too.

If you dont have integrity and the consistency in life that comes with it, you really have nothing to act as a foundation for your life and you have little to rest a public life on as an elected official.

You will be reduced to living and behaving just like Sharon, Jessica and the rest of Reno’s merry band of self-serving officials have to, all to cover up for your inconsistencies and the false front (aka mask) such people have to create to stay “safe.” They are doing it – if you dont find integrity for yourself, you will do it too.

Just because the circumstances of my initial confrontation with Donna were changed, but are now mysteriously back to where they were before my apology, I have to insist that my comments still stand as a universal truth about integrity, honesty and all those good principles voters should hold candidates accountable for. 

[Edited] Furthermore, my recommendation is STILL a NO vote for all three.  Brandi Anderson, who has garnered support from the unions in the area, may or may not be a good choice – time and further investigation/questioning will tell.   Anthony Gonzalez may be a good candidate, but he is an unknown at this point so I have no recommendation to give concerning his candidacy.

See you on the battlefield.

The Scoop On Donna Graves (Update)

May 6, 2010 23 comments

[NOTE ADDED 5/10/10 @ 1pm:  People are emailing myself and Donna accusing me of having an agenda, so I will clear that misconception up right now.   There is no agenda other than to change how we “do” politics, because up to now how we’ve conducted politics and elections hasnt worked too well for us.  Platforms are great – but we must get at the ideals/philosophies BEHIND THE PLATFORMS in order to properly know and understand the candidate/politician.  That is my only agenda – to change the dialogue and focus of the dialogue so we know who we are voting for.]

Arguably, my first discussion about Donna was critical right out of the gates, and it turns out my gut suspicions about her were spot-on with regards to her level of openess.   She may be a wonderful individual, but I have severe reservations about her politics BECAUSE she is unwilling to directly answer certain questions about her political ideals and philosophy.

In our on-going discussions, she has clearly given her opinions about specific city issues such as homelessness, budgetary concerns and the like.  Generally, I agree with her on these very specific pet-issues with some exceptions of course… what I am having trouble with is her unwillingness to answer penetrating questions that might be considered controversial.

In my mind, the really tough issues center around raising taxes during a border-line regional depression, advocating for keeping city employess on the payroll at almost any cost, finding ways to bail out home owners caught up in mortgage problems, immigration and whether or not to enforce federal law (illegal immigration issues) within our city limits and things of that nature.  Donna’s stances, or lack thereof, on these issues are cause for concern for voters, or should be.

I have repeatedly asked Donna about her political philosophy and views on larger issues of the day such as immigration, and she out-right refuses to answer such questions and equivocates at every opportunity to avoid answering my specific clearly defined questions.

My only question is, “why would she avoid answering these philosophical questions?”

She states she has no intention of running for higher office beyond City Council, and since that is her current goal and only stated ambition she assumes that voters should be happy with her City-centric policy ideas and ignore her personal political philosophy.

The problem with this idea of hers is, we voters do not know what we are getting if she refuses to address larger “issues of the day”and continually avoids giving answers about her political philosphy.  Furthermore, if we voters have no idea if she’ll vote (as she’s stated) leftist on one issue, conservative on another issue and centrist on other issues, how are we to have any confidence in her as a leader when she refuses to define herself?   Where is the stability and steadiness leaders need to demonstrate in such inconsistent voting patterns?

Her refusal to be “pigeon holed” (her words) and continued claims that she is non-partisan ring hollow in an age of politics where the voters have been scammed by politicians of every stripe at every level of government, from local to federal officeholders.  When I encounter the sorts of dodging and avoidance I’ve seen from Donna, I am immeidately wary and suspcious about her intentions and whether or not she is trying to hide something.  She seems to not understand this concept, let alone recognize the undercurrent of distrust that permeates the electorate these days.

Personally, I am tired of the Obama-style politics that is practiced upon voters wherein the politicians pretend that they are “better than they actually are” (mask wearing, basically) in their bids to win votes and keep themselves safe from public scrutiny and tough questions about their core beliefs and ideals.  Donna’s reactions to my questions gives me the same level of discomfort as what I’ve experienced in listening to Obama, Reid, Pelosi and even certain Republicans.

Admittedly, I have been tough on Donna through my persistence and continuing repetition of my questions about her core beliefs, ideals and philosopy.  But, if she cannot answer these tough questions and find it within herself to DO THE RIGHT THING and be honest with voters about her ideals and philosophy, then she DOES NOT deserve the votes of anyone until she can achieve honesty about herself in front of others.

I know she wont like my conclusions and I know she will either hear about this article or read it for herself at some point.   I hope she understands I hold no ill will towards her and that if ever she encountered trajedy and needed help, I would stand with her neighbors and friends to provide encouragement and support for her and her family.  

My only hope is she’ll do some introspective work to find the answers I (and others) seek from her, or accept that she needs some more time to get her ducks in a row before she makes another bid for public office if she is not elected.

See you on the battlefield.

Donna Graves – Ward 2 Candidate

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment

[NOTE:  See the update section within the body of this post for up-to-the-minute discoveries and other newly revealed happenings.  If new or contradictory information is discovered, this entry will be re-written and/or replaced in the near future]

I have to report to the good citizens of Reno about a recent exchange of messages that I had with Donna Graves, candidate for city council, Ward 2. 

When I first saw her Facebook page I thought, “Excellent – a chance to talk to someone who may get into office about substantiative issues and see just who a person is before we decide to cast our votes.”  I then went to her campaign website HERE to review what her ideas are and find out more about her.

Donna Graves, Ward 2 Candidate

On her website and Facebook pages, we find the usual claims about not being a career politician and, disturbingly, I also noted half a dozen “ideas” some of which were laced with the usual “progressive” ideas about corporate welfare and bailing out home owners who are upside down on their debt-to-value ratios.

I then posted the following at 1 pm today on her Facebook site, with the first 3 paragraphs on her Wall section:

Donna, truthfully – and I dont mean to sound combative – but what I am reading seems to indicate that in you we wont have much different than the current crop of council folks.

Consolidate?  Good.  Be proactive in cutting spending, such as the private building lease vs. putting the public servant in a city owned property (does the city property meet code?  Is it habitable?  What upgrades would be necessary to occupy city property and etc?).

 The point of the matter is government must not become a burden to the citizenry. 

Unfortunately, we have far too many people in elected and unelected positions who front for agendas and ideas that cost money, are not truly helpful and create more government bloat and waste.  Talk of “finding revenue” will be a deal killer in my book and my sentiments are shared by many people it seems to me.

If my practice were at a different place I’d have run for Mayor, but for now I’ll have to be content with darkening the doorway of city council meetings IF I SEE the usual shennanigans happening in our city leadership from here on out.  Like so many others, I am tired of the political games, the spending sprees, obscene grandiose ideas and fanciful political schemes that are so typical of politicians, GOP, DNC or otherwise.

I would also suggest that you declare your party affiliation and state your political philosophy up front, so that voters can fairly evaluate who you are and what you bring to the table of ideas. 

In looking at your website, two things catch my eye which lead me to believe you lean democrat, and in my view, simply present more of the same ideas from the DNC perspective: 

1) “end corporate welfare” – this has been used by democrats as cover using hyperbole to bash corporations, when in fact most corporations in America are small businesses owned locally – so really you’re attacking small business and making US-based businesses weaker and less competive where costs are concerned globally, regionally and nationally; and 

2) “Support assistance to middle class home owners” – first, where do we get the money for this?  Second, where is it written that government must bail out private individuals due to market changes, mistakes they’ve made and etc?  Third, where does the Constitution, state or federal, or our city charter state that government is to shoulder the risk in people’s lives & insulate them from those risks?

The proper role of government must be observed, Donna.  Your ideas, at first blush, appear to ignore such “proper role” considerations and seemingly put you in danger of being another tax-happy official elected to “do something” by the citizens.  The problem is, history is proving such tax-happy / spend-happy policies are unsustainable.

What did I get in return?  At 1:14 pm today here’s a message she sent to me:

Derrick

My election is like no other. Our wonderful city is in a crisis it hasn’t seen in over 20 years. Our budget has been mishandled and we need leadership, leadership that can make tough decisions. I run the largest multi-family complex in Northern NV. It takes a firm backbone to do the work I do. This experience has given me the knowledge of multi-million dollar budgets. I speak about gaining revenue, because in these times we can not rely on federal grants. We need to cut costs and gain revenue at the same time. We need to ensure that the services that run our city and the services the tax payers pay for are in tact. Laying off 300 people in the last year does not give us those services. I am not a career politician. I am an experienced business woman that IS the right choice for Reno. I hope that you continue read about me and my ideas for Reno.

Donna Graves

I have since sent several messages to her asking for more information and to address the points that I made in the discussions section of her Facebook campaign website.  I’ve gotten nothing back AND WHEN I WENT BACK TO HER FACEBOOK SITE I discovered that my Wall Post and Discussion comment above were both deleted!!!!!!!!

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UPDATES SECTION:
 
Here’s what she said at 2:19 pm today: 

Derrick

There are other ways to cut the budget other than laying people off. We could have asked for furloughs which would have saved us on unemployment. There is more to laying people off than just saving money. It actually doesn’t save that much. The jobs they did have to be done by someone. And then on top of paying their wage we have to pay the unemployment. My views and ideas are simple. Reno needs leaders who think about our future. We need to look ahead and not be so short sided. Putting out budget “fires” isn’t they key to a sustainable community.

You truly made no real comments on my site. If you ask me question on my site, I will answer them.

** What’s more, when I try to post questions on her FB site, she deletes them.
*** I’ve posted questions HERE for her to answer – so far, they’re still there.
**** 4/28/10 – Donna has responded to SOME questions HERE.
**** 4/28/10 (
close of business time) – Some associates of Donna’s have contacted me with more information about her and about her goals.  DEVELOPING!!!!!!!!

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She claims to not be a career politician, yet she acts just like one when confronted with tough questions and requests for clarification about her ideas and political philosophy.

QUALIFED VOTE FOR/AGAINST RECOMMENDATION:  Thus far, I have to conclude that NO ONE should vote for this candidate due to her refusal to address comments, questions and requests for additional information about who she is and what she believes.   Due to her website ideas, comments and lack of response thus far, I have to conclude she may believe government is the answer to social ills, economic problems and that government should rescue people from the results of bad luck and bad choices.

Time will tell on how this develops.

See you on the battlefield.

Categories: Nevada Elections 2010