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DeLong's Rivals Pounce On Alleged Campaign Violation

Republicans Steve Kuykendall and Steve Foley say he's failed to explain possible misuse of city email and criticize his character.

Two of Gary DeLong's Republican rivals for Congress today entered the controversy over whether the 3rd District councilman misused his city email account for political purposes, issuing statements through their campaigns that question his integrity and urge him to answer the charge. 

In a brief email headlined: "DeLong Has Some Explaining To Do," Steve Kuykendall said of DeLong, whose Long Beach district includes Naples and Belmont Shore: "At the very least our elected leaders should be honorable, use good judgment and hold themselves accountable for their own actions. Sadly, Gary DeLong has failed to demonstrate these basic requirements." The email sent in support of Kuykendall, who is a former congressman and state assemblyman, led off by linking to  about the allegation and DeLong's reaction. 

Steve Foley also suggested that DeLong had revealed a "character flaw" but was more direct and lengthy in his criticism, saying "DeLong has not effectively explained how email addresses submitted for subscriptions to his City Council office's newsletters and updates on local issues are receiving emails from DeLong's U.S. House of Representative campaign. The Council subscription clearly states that emails for that account are not released in any way to anyone else for any purpose. To have done so would be a violation of campaign laws as well."

While Foley, a businessman and conservative blogger, appeared willing to excuse DeLong on that issue if the accusations proved true, saying, "It's just a little thing, I know," he maintained that "too many little things have started stacking up -- too many questions about character and integrity; too little response from Councilman DeLong."

Along with the Patch article on the controversy, the Foley campaign's email also cited one in the Long Beach Press-Telegram about the accusations. 

With the election for the GOP nomination in the 47th Congressional District only days away, on June 5, at least two complaints have been lodged with Long Beach City Attorney Bob Shannon, the Los Angeles District Attorney and California's Secretary of State. They allege the same essential thing: that DeLong misused city staff or resources to obtain email addresses that residents submitted to get official 3rd District updates.

Doing so would violate state campaign law that forbids use of public resources for private campaigns, which might carry a fine, depending on the relative value of the proprietary information. DeLong has said that his 47th Congressional District campaign purchased numerous email lists, and there are bound to be crossovers with 3rd District newsletter subscribers.

One of the complaints filed by retired deputy city attorney Jim McCabe noted that his partner emailed a request to DeLong's City Council office requesting a 3rd District Council newsletter for neighborhood updates on road closures. McCabe said on Thursday night that his partner did so on a rarely used email address, ironically, so that his more personal address is not commpromised.

His partner allegedly received a response from DeLong's Council office chief of staff and another staffer that featured Facebook and Twitter links to the DeLong campaign. And a day or two later, he received a DeLong campaign email. Several Patch complained of the same scenario: after getting signed up for a district newsletter for road closures or trash day changes -several said they used seldom used e-mail addresses - suddenly they received DeLong campaign material on it. 

The P-T tested the allegation with two newly created email addresses through which 3rd District newsletters were requested. In short order, the newspaper said, each of the email addresses received DeLong campaign emails.

The City Attorney's office returned a May 30 phone call from Patch on the morning of May 31, stating that it would make no comment about the investigation. But the Press Telegram has City Attorney comment here.

John B. Greet June 02, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I'll be curious to see what conclusions the investigation reveals. Conclusions, one can presume, that will be based upon objectively verifiable facts, rather than assumption and conjecture. DeLong is not the only City Councilmember to have ever run for higher office. I would be curious to know whether whatever actions DeLong took or authorized in this case, were also taken or authorized by other Councilmembers who have run such campaigns.
Panglonymous June 02, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Pure, milk chocolate goodness?
Matt Klein June 02, 2012 at 04:35 PM
I'm particularly upset because I already voted by mail for DeLong. That obviously is going to change in November. I just wish he would be transparent about it now. Acknowledge that a mistake was made, repay the city for the value of the staff time and for the email lists you took, and move on. By not doing so, we have no idea what the true extent is of staff time that was used, or how elaborate the use of city computers for his campaign was. When the County Assessor, John Noguez, refused to honestly answer questions, the D.A. served search warrants throughout Assessor's office and at the home of Noguez. It would be a shame for that to have to happen here, but it will be necessary if it is the only way to get to the bottom of what actually happened.
John B. Greet June 02, 2012 at 04:45 PM
LOL, Pan.
Mike Ruehle June 02, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Considering the many nationwide election issues, isn't it amazing how something as small as stealing email lists has risen to such prominence. If DeLong is truely worthy of Congress, he would have simply pulled on his big boy pants, admitted making a relatively insignificant mistake, begged forgiveness and asked everyone to move on to the very real issues at hand. However, that's not what he did. Instead, DeLong avoids addressing the issue and instead, relies on the media and others to carry his water for him, hoping Delongate will go away. That, in itself, is more of an issue than what he is actually accused of. If you consider similar past issues (Tom Dean, wetlands, Sean Hitchcock, Home Depot, 2nd & PCH, etc.) where DeLong shied away from commenting on his involvement in contentious issues, his frequent failing to honestly address adversity appears to be a serious character flaw of DeLong. If he can't do so in the City Council public arena, how can anyone expect he will do better as a Congressman?
Matt Klein June 02, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Except the issue isn't simply stealing email lists. The issues raised include use of city staff time for the campaign. If staff time was used to collect the email lists, or to program the computers to redirect the email addresses to the campaign, then staff time was used for the campaign. That is illegal. In an era where we are cutting police staff, it's unfathomable that precious staff time (paid for by taxpayers) is being used on a campaign.
John B. Greet June 02, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Speaking of big boy pants: Still waiting for Ruehle to list those 40 links he recently (and falsely) claimed he had to stories of LBPD officers who had been accused of crimes over the past five years. If Ruehle is truly worthy of conversing with mature and honest adults, he would have simply pulled on his big boy pants when I challenged him, admitted making a relatively insignificant mistake, begged forgiveness and asked everyone to move on to the very real issues at hand. However, that's not what he did. Instead, Ruehe has continued to avoid addressing the issue and instead, relies on the short memories of some others, hoping the legitimate challenge I raised on that matter will just go away. Ruehle's far too busy talking about the big boy pants of others to take the time to try to put on a pair of his own.
Mike Ruehle June 03, 2012 at 02:21 AM
For those who may not know, recently retired Long Beach Police Officer Greet, who suffers from the Dunning-Kruger effect, is a HUGE appologist/lobbyist/gopher for DeLong. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%e2%80%93Kruger_effect
Howard Taber June 03, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Tick, tock. Delongate is three days old and still no answer from Delong. But I thought he really wanted to answer those questions. I was one of those who signed up for 3rd district email some time back and then got campaign email. Now his campaign has stopped sending me mail altogether. Is the evidence being flushed? Well, Gary? Are you gonna have a bonfire with the email lists on the City Hall steps? Maybe its time to get a dog named Checkers and alert the media.
Nancy Wride (Editor) June 03, 2012 at 06:56 AM
So for the sake of argument here, let's say an investigation were to find that DeLong or a staff member did go into the city database for private e-mail, but did so from their homes in off-duty time. So they used their existing access meant for city business, but did so on their own time, from home or the office. Does that make it different to you, apart from the law being the law? Does it bother anyone as to what's been called a city claim that your e-mail's privacy will be protected? Or do some folks think of this as a technicality?
Howard Taber June 03, 2012 at 07:39 AM
Nancy, My wife works for the city and she tells me that there would be no way to access the city computer system (where emails requests to a council district would be stored) from outside the city system. What I mean is that you can not access the city system unless you are on a city computer. Presumably, only a city employee would have access. Well, let's hope only a city employee would have access.
John B. Greet June 03, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Nancy, as I mentioned on a different thread here but on this same topic, if these allegations are proven true "...they would indicate to me that DeLong has violated campaign law and mis-used city staff and other resources. Again, if proven true. Like anyone else, DeLong should be considered innocent until *proven* guilty and not condemned first and 'let's see what the investigation reveals later.'" Due respect to Mr. Taber's wife, my recollection of city email server access differs considerably from hers. While employed as a city employee I was able to access my city lotus notes email account (and all of the emails in it that had not been "archived") at any time and from any computer or other device (including my smart phone) that had internet access. I could not access the "full version" of my city email from home or from my phone, but I could access a limited-functionality version of it, including any email distribution lists I may have created. Unless I am quite mistaken (and not unlike most other public or private sector employers) the city's internet usage policy includes guidance on city email use, stipulating that all email sent to or received from city emails accounts, and which are retained (not erased), are city -not personal- property and are considered public documents for the purposes of document retention requirements. If it is true that the DeLong campaign simply purchased email address lists from various vendors, this should be easy to prove.
John B. Greet June 03, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Again we see Ruehle's typical response in the face of a direct challenge: Ignore the challenge and attempt to impugn the challenger. Still looking for those links you said you had, Ruehle. Either those or a sincere admission that you do not have them and never did.
Panglonymous June 03, 2012 at 04:15 PM
There was this guy, a councilman, about six years ago, who was so OUTRAGED about allegations that he had been running his real estate concerns out of his council office - that he RESIGNED right in the middle of a council meeting and MOVED to SOUTH AMERICA! http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2006/02/long_beach_pol_quits_over.php That district has been Lowenthralled ever since... - (Visual of Alan Lowenthal, ex-wife Bonnie, and ex-daughter-in-law Suja, posed smiling w/arms around each other at a function) (voice over) Lowenthralled? (pause) Break the spell! (quick cut to graphic w/ voice-over repeating) Vote Any Republican June 5! A New Way To The Same Old Place For A Better America (fade to black, very slowly, w/moaning...)
Matt Klein June 03, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Nancy, if in fact this was done by DeLong himself, and not his staff, and done from his home computer, it would in fact make it far less egregious. It would still be illegal though because the email list is city property. However, the scenario you hypothesized (that email lists were taken without any staff time being used) is an impossibility for the following reasons. First, the email addresses that his staff gathered at community events (that his campaign used) necessarily were gathered using staff time. And second, the outgoing emails that his city staff sent out contained links to his campaign websites--those also necessarily involved the use of staff time.
Howard Taber June 03, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Mr. Greet, You are conflating the city system for an individual to access their personal emails from outside the office and the databasing of email accounts that have signed up for things like district news. City employees can access their city email accounts away from the office, no doubt about that. However, the addresses of the people who signed up through Delong's office would automatically go into a database on the city servers, something that Delong or someone in his office would only have access to through the city's internal intranet--meaning it is only accessible by a city computer that is physically tied into the city system.
John B. Greet June 03, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Thanks for the clarification of your comment, Mr. Taber. I agree that a database such as you describe could well be inaccessible accept on the city's intranet. However, "email requests to a council district" would remain accessible to any employee with access to those email accounts, from any computer that has an internet connection. They may not be able to get at a database compiled separately from the email system, but they would still be able to access the emails themselves and, presumably, the private email addresses of those in the community who sent the requests in the first place. Thanks!
Howard Taber June 03, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Mr. Greet, I see where you are going with this now. You're making the point that if the citizen requests go through the taxpayer-owned District3@longbeach.gov account, someone with access to that account (that is, someone like Delong) could see those requests (including the citizen email addresses) even if the citizen emails automatically go into a sequestered city server. Basically the original citizen request would show up as an email to District3@longbeach.gov. That brings up a whole host of other questions. Did Delong give outside access to the District3@loongbeach.gov account to his campaign people? Did he give it to his campaign email service (Campaigner.com, as indicated at the bottom of all the Delong campaign emails)? Is it illegal or improper for Delong to allow outside access to a city-owned email account (District3@longbeach.gov)? Regardless, it still doesn't seem to change the fact that the city prohibits the use of citizen emails collected for city use by a third-party or for campaigning.
John B. Greet June 03, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Yes, that was the point I was making, thank you. It seems clear that there is ample reason to be concerned about this but also ample reason to await the results of the investigation. So much of what we discuss is purest speculation at this point. If the investigation reveals impropriety, then the public can demand appropriate consequences and can consider those findings when they cast their votes during the election. It concerns me, however, that some folks in our community who are clearly prone to leaping to pre-determined conclusions when accusations are lodged, are doing everyone involved a real disservice. If the DeLong campaign is proven to have committed misconduct in this case, fine, he should pay all appropriate penalties for having done so. If not, however, and if the DeLong campaign is ultimately exonerated of these charges, how many will accept and respect *those* findings and not hold the mere existence of the accusations against him?
Panglonymous June 03, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Mr. Taber, Mr. Klein, Mr. Greet, Ms. Wride, Ms. Wickham, et al, I am not Peter Matthews, but I am wondering why his name is never mentioned except as a sort of dessicating appendix to the strong, healthy front-running body. I am not neither Mr. Foley nor Mr. Kahn, not Mr. Shah, nor even his good wife, Usha, yet, still, I feel compelled to ask in their collective stead, this fine Sunday morning, "Holy Jesus, what does one have to do get some equal time around here??"
Howard Taber June 03, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Mr. Greet, Would you agree, however, that Delong is doing himself a disservice by not directly denying the charges? His responses to this point seem to be...maybe 'crafted' is the best word. Just from a political point of view, with this mess breaking less than a week before the primary election, he doesn't seem to have handled it well. I tend to agree with some of the other posters that if he had just addressed the issue fully and promptly, it probably would have evaporated quickly. What do you think? And, Panglonymous, I think that most of the people on here see the reality of the situation. You essentially have a three-way race (I would argue it is even more likely just a two-way race). None of the others like Peter or Sanford have a very real chance to pull in more than a few percentage points of the total vote.
Panglonymous June 03, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Ah, Mr. Taber, but if I understand correctly, people without a snowball's chance in a hot place who nonetheless wish to run for office do so largely so that issues not addressed within the front-running duopoly may be publically aired - perhaps at least forcing the front-runners to acknowledge them if the public shows any interest at all. It would be wonderful if these folks would create an account, sign-in and be heard - or at least be invited. Wouldn't you agree?
Howard Taber June 03, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Panglonymous, I most wholeheartedly agree. I think that Peter and the other candidates do have something to offer to the overall discourse. Especially Peter for the Dems and Sanford for the Reps. And, yes, it is unfortunate that most of the local media has not covered the primary very well. I will give props to Nancy and the Belmont Shore Patch. I seem to recall that she said she reached out to all the CA-47 candidates to do blogs on the site. From what I can tell, and I may be wrong, but only Lowenthal, Delong and Foley have taken advantage of her offer.
Nancy Wride (Editor) June 03, 2012 at 07:30 PM
That is correct, Howard. I invited them all, and I'd hoped that each would have better than me truncating their comments and news, me the middle wo(man), but a conversation, which is how it started out with DeLong, although the bright reader questions were not all answered, but he did engage to his credit. I attended the forum, wrote in advance of it, but videotaped it (meaning I could not write notes) and learned that video was not allowed to be used. A couple weeks later, I was then told only candidates could not use the videotape. We have sent out candidate questionnaires but gotten back few. We get pounded with email campaign announcements by Republicans, but they are about endorsements that studies indicate are not all that significant to voters. There is also, frankly, finite time to cover our community in 20 hours that I am awake. But many of the questions Patch readers submitted in our What Would You Ask Candidates article were posed at the forum. So well done Patch community.
John B. Greet June 03, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Not being very politcally savvy, myself. I really couldn't say whether DeLong has taken the best course in the face of these allegations or not. Presuming, as I think we all should be at this point, that he is innocent of any misconduct, perhaps he feels its best to not justify the accusations with a response, and let the results of the investigations exonerate him eventually. Personally, if I knew I had done nothing wrong and knew I had not directed anyone in my campaign to do so, I would deny the charges and assure the public that I was launching my own investigation to get to the bottom of just what happened, how, and (if misconduct occurred) how to prevent it from happening again. But again, perhaps I just don't understand how the various politcal games are played on such matters.
Matt Klein June 03, 2012 at 11:43 PM
What strikes me as most interesting about DeLong's failure to respond to these charges is that it stands in direct contrast with how clearly and categorically responded to the last set of District Attorney charges (regarding his failure to turn in vote by mail ballot applications on time). Perhaps the reason he clearly and categorically responded to the earlier charges was because he knew that there was no way those charges could be objectively validated--it was simply his word against the complainants as to when the vote by mail ballot applications were received by his office. The current charges, on the other hand, can in fact be objectively and conclusively verified. I surmise that he has gone radio silent because he realizes that if he lies and attempts a cover-up, it will come out.
Panglonymous June 04, 2012 at 12:35 AM
You set it up well, Nancy, and Gary deserves credit for opening the conversation, as you say: http://belmontshore.patch.com/blog_posts/gary-delong - Mr. Foley dug in to selected questions over here: http://belmontshore.patch.com/articles/what-should-we-ask-47th-congressional-candidates and did some blogging, starting here: http://belmontshore.patch.com/blog_posts/new-blogger-in-education-governments-the-problem and continuing here: http://belmontshore.patch.com/blog_posts/maintaining-waste-fraud-and-abuse-lowenthal-missed-mark http://belmontshore.patch.com/blog_posts/say-no-to-career-politicians-embrace-bold-solutions http://belmontshore.patch.com/blog_posts/it-matters-who-governs - Mr. Lowenthal didn't interact, but his post here generated an active comment thread, nonetheless: http://belmontshore.patch.com/blog_posts/military-families-deserve-better and he posted three others: http://belmontshore.patch.com/blog_posts/california-loses-a-major-environmental-advocate http://belmontshore.patch.com/blog_posts/providing-education-is-a-duty-that-shapes-our-future http://belmontshore.patch.com/blog_posts/give-me-3-bill-could-reduce-thousands-of-auto-vs-bike-accidents-each-year
Panglonymous June 04, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Nancy, is the May 3 Forum video with audience questions (even in its raw form) audible and able to be posted? If it's too big to upload here, maybe lbreport would host it (he host big) and exchange a little link love? :-) Here's video onsite from the March 13 Forum produced at CSULB (no public interaction): http://belmontshore.patch.com/articles/47th-congressional#youtube_video-9776453
Marshall Riverdale June 04, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Matt and Nancy, I keep pointing this out but maybe people don't understand. I will try to do it again. The biggest issue here is not the staff time, it's the asset of using the traffic that comes to the city website to build your own database. The traffic is the key. Not the computers, not the staff, nothing else. Gary has said he buys lists. Well, lists cost money. And they don't all cost the same amount of money. In this case, they are probably the most engaged voters - those that sign up for local council newsletters. How much would that be worth? $5 an address? $10? More? And there are better questions to ask than that. If it is okay just to get the addresses (if staff time is not used), then why not just get the lists from every council office? Alternatively, do the other congressional candidates have similar access to the 3rd district list in question?
Nancy Wride (Editor) June 04, 2012 at 06:03 AM
Thank you all. It was more of a matter of parking the video, and by 2 weeks later, a mountain of events have long overtaken me. But I will try. Most of what I got that I think might work were their 2 minute closing statements. One campaign has video but it can't be posted, and its far better video organized around topics. (Apologies, everyone, I am a writer not a videographer, though I am working on not cutting off people's, you know, talking heads and stuff) :D

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