Jim Baer helped pay for controversial mailer

Publication Date: Friday Dec 1, 2000

ELECTION 2000: Jim Baer helped pay for controversial mailer

'San Jose Dolly' mailer slammed Sandoval on election eve

by Don Kazak

A controversial mailer to Democratic voters in Santa Clara County's 5th supervisorial district on election eve was paid for by a group of local property owners, including Palo Alto developer Jim Baer. The mailer, which depicted Dolly Sandoval as a "San Jose" candidate, is credited by Sandoval with swinging the balance in a tight race.

Palo Alto Mayor Liz Kniss defeated Sandoval by just 2,665 votes out of almost 108,000 cast, winning 51.2 percent to 48.8 percent.

Kniss immediately disavowed any knowledge of the mailer when it came out, and said she disapproved of it.

The mailer was paid for by a group called Citizens for Accountability in Government, which includes a dozen property owners, including Baer.

Baer's participation is significant because of what happened back in August, when Sandoval tried to move into the county Democratic Party campaign headquarters in Palo Alto.

That office was used by Rep. Anna Eshoo, state Sen. Byron Sher, and Assemblyman-elect Joe Simitian. Sandoval had been endorsed by the county Democratic Party, and moved a desk into the office.

But the office was owned by Baer and donated to the county party--an arrangement Sher's campaign makes with Baer every four years.

This time, though, Baer insisted that Sandoval take her desk out of the campaign office.

"I don't want competing candidates arguing over office space," Baer said at the time. "I'm interested in supporting candidates who aren't competing in a local race."

But Baer, through the "San Jose" mailer, did just that--he supported one Democrat (Kniss) against another (Sandoval) in a local race.

The front of the mailer has a photograph of Sandoval obscured by "San Jose" in large, block letters. Inside, she is called Dolly "San Jose" Sandoval.

Baer declined to comment about the mailer.

The 5th district includes a small slice of San Jose. But Sandoval lives in Cupertino, not San Jose.

"It's unfortunate that for 18 months we ran a positive campaign and then that came out with no time to respond to it," Sandoval said after the election. "I hope the next time around the voters will frown on that."1 

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