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'Enough is enough:' Mailer takes aim at Darrell Steinberg

September 9, 2010 | 11:10 am


Earlier this summer, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) was attacked by the California Teachers Assn. in a series of mailers and billboards that questioned his commitment to fighting for education funding.

Now, another mailer has arrived in the mailboxes of Steinberg’s Sacramento constituents taking aim at the Democratic leader.

“Did you know that your SENATOR DARRELL STEINBERG voted for the last state budget that cut funding for school classrooms and school transportation by 8.6 billion dollars and then within hours voted to give large corporations and entertainment companies almost 1 billion dollars in special tax breaks?” says the mailer, which features pictures of the elderly, an infant and children in a classroom.

There is no disclaimer on the piece identifying who paid for the mailer, which blares on the front, “Enough is Enough! No More Cuts!!” But the return address is that of the Sacramento office of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The union’s political director, Willie Pelote, has been among Sacramento’s most outspoken critics of the Democratic leadership in the Capitol. AFSCME spent heavily to defeat one of Steinberg's hand-picked candidates for state Senate, Assemblywoman Mary Salas (D-San Diego), in a June primary that was so close it wasn't decided until after a recount.

AFSCME did not immediately return a call for comment.

Alicia Trost, a Steinberg spokeswoman, said Steinberg "has never felt it is an effective strategy to form a circle around your allies and begin shooting."

Trost said each of the mailer's complaints -- of which the corporate tax breaks were just one -- "were conditions in getting needed Republican support for a budget and a governor's signature."

This year's state budget is more than 10 weeks overdue and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative Republicans are demanding Democrats cut deeper into social service programs and education to strike an accord. The mailer lists Steinberg's office number and urges constituents to call and urge him to resist "cuts to vital programs we need."

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento