It’s becoming apparent to us there appear to be two different campaigns for John D’Agostini, who is running for sheriff against Craig Therkildsen. First, there is Mr. Positive who doesn’t criticize his opponent and only points to his list of supporters.
But somewhere behind the scenes there seems to be a sub rosa campaign that is one of the dirtiest campaigns we have seen in this county. It began with the patched motorcycle groups, largely from out of the county, showing up in force at an El Dorado County Board of Supervisors forum to demand the sheriff stop doing undercover surveillance and that the sheriff resign. D’Agostini’s professional campaign manager was the first to speak at that meeting, followed by a Hells Angels spokesman. A reliable witness reported D’Agostini’s campaign treasurer was also at this event.
Mr. D’Agostini twice met with members of the Modified Motorcycle Association at a saloon. Either he endorsed his campaign manager-consultant and the Hells Angels show of force at the board chambers or he lacked the will to clearly and cleanly disassociate himself from it. Just saying he didn’t have anything to do with it was merely getting by. We are of the same mind as the district attorney who contends that Mr. D’Agostini could have called it off.
The real guerilla warfare is not the endless forums and the glowing endorsements. It is a bogus Craig-for-sheriff Website to which our on-line commenters keep pointing. Now there is a second opposition Website. All this is pushed endlessly and tirelessly by Internet harpies whose mission is to sit by their computers all day long and denigrate Therkildsen and praise D’Agostini and promote these bogus Websites while commenting on our Website stories.
And now the same coterie of fanatics for D’Agostini suddenly has Web links to an L.A. Times story about a crime that happened 20 years ago and is making the distorted and largely false connection that Therkildsen hired a criminal to print the flier that criticized D’Agostini for his political association with the Modified Motorcycle Association, some of whose membership includes outlaw motorcycle gangs.
The real truth is Therkildsen and his consultant paid $3,400 to have his name added to a slate mailer, something entirely different than the negative mailer that has D’Agostini’s supporters in an uproar. It is one of three major slate mailers in the state. Apparently the producer of this one slate mailer was convicted of a crime 20 years ago, served his time and has kept his nose clean for the past 20 years. After this length of time he is considered by common law to be rehabilitated, entitled to make a living.
It’s a commercial relationship, not a political relationship. Expecting someone to do a criminal background check on a vendor makes as much sense as doing it for the baker, the butcher or the candlestick maker.
Those who would criticize Therkildsen should also condemn El Dorado Hills Community Services Directors Bill Vandegrift and Tony Rogozinski, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, state controller candidate Tony Strickland, Lt. Gov. Abel Moldanado, state superintendent of public instruction candidate Larry Aceves and the backers and opponents of five different state propositions. They paid to be on the same slate mailer as sheriff candidate Craig Therkildsen. Therkildsen actually got a bargain. Moldanado paid $200,000 and Lockyer $60,000 as did Aceves, according to syndicated columnist Dan Walters. Other local candidates on the mailer include three high school board candidates, state Senate candidate Roger Niello and Cameron Park CSD candidate Shiva Frentzen.
Our question remains: Who did such deep campaign research to come up with a 20-year-old criminal conviction and transmogrify such a tenuous connection into a direct connection? And who has created a bogus Website and an opposition Website? And who feeds this information to the Internet gang of crazy commenters?
It is time for D’Agostini to man up and condemn these sleazy, sneaky, underhanded tactics. Denial of a connection is not good enough. We expect a candidate for sheriff to show his moral compass is pointed in the right direction. Show this isn’t going to represent his administrative style.