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Vote Bill Wolpert - October 25 Email

Subject: Digging Deeper into Robo Calls

My name is Bill Wolpert.  I'm running for Petaluma City Council.  This is another installment in my continuing conversation with the voters of Petaluma.

In my last email, I wrote about my accurate position on the Rainier Connector.   I needed to rebut what others were saying my position was.

Today I want to talk about how the false story about my views got out there in the first place.

It wasn’t anything I said.  It wasn’t anything I wrote.  Instead, it was a robo call with a false report of what I believed.

It’s election season.  We know what to expect.  Mailers, door hangers, and, unfortunately, robo calls.  Robo calls, because they can reach a lot of people in a short time, are an effective campaign technique regardless of their accuracy, or in this case, inaccuracy.

In this case, the inaccuracies in the robo calls from my opponents demanded a response.

But, how can one respond to robo calls?  Doing my own robo calls would be one approach, but I’ve made a commitment not to use robo calls for two reasons.

First, they’re illegal unless introduced by a real human being, a step that my opponents haven’t been following.

Second, robo calls shut down any possibility of a conversation.  They’re a one-sided, intended only to deliver a message, whether or not it’s true.  By their nature, they’re all talk and no listen.

In comparison, my campaign is about listening.  I’ve begun using real human beings to call voters to engage in two-sided conversations.  Doesn’t that sound more reasonable?  Don’t you want someone on the Council to care about what you think, not to solely tell you what you should be thinking?

So why would someone use robo calls?  Because they’re unstoppable.  No matter how illegal or how untrue they may be, there’s little that can be done to stop the untruths they spread.  On the Rainier Connector, robo calls give my opponents a way to misrepresent my position and to put me on the defensive.  They use a misrepresentation of my position on the Rainier Connector as a dog whistle to scare people away from my candidacy and what I will work to accomplish for Petaluma.

Although the illegality is clear, the phone company and the government aren’t doing anything to stop robo calls.  A member of my campaign tried.  She called the number provided to report robo calls.  After several transfers, she was connected to a lonely man sitting at an isolated desk who hates robo calls with a passion and agreed that the call she described was illegal.  He was happy to chat with her and to take notes, but lacked any resources for enforcement.

But perhaps you can make a difference.  My opponents are current City Councilmembers who can be reached at their web pages and offices.  Give them a call and tell them, person to person, how you feel about their use of robo calls.  And while you’re talking, ask them for a construction estimate for the Rainier Connector.  Ask them for a full financing plan. Ask them for a date when it will be built.  And ask them how it will be maintained when existing city streets are continually unraveling.

I’m all for conversation, a back and forth exchange of ideas and real dialogue about our future.  You should demand the same from them.  Remember, come November 8th, two of my opponents will be re-elected.  Tell them what you expect from your elected officials.

My campaign is arising from the grassroots.  We can only win if we talk to each other.  The way to earn votes is through conversation and real exchanges.  As hard as I’m trying, I won’t be able to reach every voter before Election Day.  This is where I ask for your help.  Talk to your friends.  Post on Facebook and Nextdoor.  Offer to sit with other campaign volunteers and make calls to voters.  Talk to your neighbors about where I really stand and what the opposition is doing.  Let’s win this together!  

John Wooden, the long-time basketball coach at UCLA once said “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”  Given the lack of enforcement, no one is watching over robo calls.  I think the character of my campaign is being shown.  Unfortunately, the same seems to be true of my opponents’ campaigns.

I've begun sharing what I think about the present and future of Petaluma.  But I also want to know what you think.  You can reply to this email, send me a message from my website, or talk to me at one of the events listed on my website.  I care about your opinions.

Bill Wolpert

Candidate, Petaluma City Council

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Bill Wolpert for Petaluma City Council
40 Fourth St., Box 278
Petaluma, CA 94952
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