Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Page 3


Harris Campaign Unveils ‘Questions for Cooley’ Web Ad


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The campaign of San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris yesterday unveiled a web ad attacking her opponent in the November election, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley.

Democrat Harris and Republican Cooley won their parties’ respective nominations for attorney general in the June 8 primary and will face off in the Nov. 2 general election to succeed gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.

In the ad, entitled “3 Questions for Steve Cooley,” the Harris campaign reiterated themes that it sounded right after the election, signifying that it will attempt to deny Cooley crossover Democratic support while questioning his prosecutorial record.

The ad, with soft music and no voiceover to accompany the graphics, asks:

•“Why did Cooley shut down the Environmental Crimes Unit in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office?”

•“Why does he think Californians want to overturn health care reform?”

•“What does he have against laws named after ‘females’?”

The issue regarding the Environmental Crimes Unit dates back to 2003. As the ad notes, the then-head of the unit, Richard Sullivan, was transferred to a post that put him in charge of the office’s law library. The action came soon after higher-ups in the office rejected proposed perjury charges against Newhall Land Co. in connection with an endangered species dispute.

Cooley said at the time that he closed the unit for budgetary reasons and that environmental cases could be adequately handled elsewhere. He denied retaliating against Sullivan, but said the lawyer “did a miserable job” on the Newhall case.

With respect to health care reform, the ad declares Harris’ support and cites a Sacramento Bee editorial from last March, criticizing Cooley and his GOP opponents for vowing to “join the 13-state lawsuit” filed by Republican attorneys general against the federal law that Republicans have dubbed “Obamacare.”

The quote, however, is from the editorial and is not attributed directly to Cooley. And Cooley’s campaign consultant, Kevin Spillane, took issue yesterday with the characterization.

Cooley, he claimed, has “expressed concerns” about the mandates in the legislation, but has not committed to joining the lawsuit. If elected, Cooley “would consult with legal experts, the staff of the Attorney General’s Office, and other state officials” before deciding whether to seek to make the state a party to the litigation, Spillane said.

The third question was a reference to remarks by Cooley satirically questioning the value of initiatives Jessica’s Law and Marsy’s Law. Cooley called the former “one of the most ill-crafted, poorly written, ill-conceived pieces of legislation” and the latter “a nice-sounding piece of junk,” citing them as examples of how measures that do little to actually fight crime an be approved at the ballot box with a sympathy-evoking title and a great deal of campaign money.

Spillane said this was “not a substantive point,” but a cynical appeal to female voters, and that Cooley would be happy to “match his record as a prosecutor...against Harris’ any day of the week,” particularly with regard to sex crimes and child abuse. Harris’ “lame web ad,” he said, was a diversion from the negative publicity she has been attracting as a result of criticism of her own performance as district attorney.


Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company