BAKERSFIELD - The election to fill former State Senator Michael Rubio's seat is just one week away. In these final days, ads from both candidates are flooding our airwaves. But, what in the commercials is actually true? 17 News gathered all the ads running on our station funded by the candidates as of last week, and checked the facts.
The first thing we noticed was that Republican Andy Vidak spent a lot more time talking about Democrat Leticia Perez than she does about him, and most of the claims have at least a little truth.
"Perez voted to raise income and sales taxes," said an Andy Vidak ad.
17 News found this statement true. It comes from a quote Perez gave to the Hanford Sentinel in April. "Like most Californians, I voted for Proposition 30," said Perez in the article. Voting 'yes' meant she agreed to raise the sales and income tax to fund education. But, she went on to say in the article she doesn't support raising additional taxes.
"I personally don't think it's right as a legislator to increase taxes, but I stand by the citizens of California when they say they're going to support our schools," said Perez to 17 News.
"Perez supports legislation that will cost us 68,800 jobs," said a Vidak ad.
This is also true if you believe what the National Federation of Independent Business says. The statement comes from a KGET story done in April. The story says Perez supports raising the minimum wage.
As far as the claim of statewide job loss? That comes from a statement about a National Federation of Independent Business study that says California would lose 68,000 jobs in ten years if the minimum wage is raised.
"Leticia Perez has had 95 percent of campaign money paid by Sacramento power brokers," said a Vidak ad.
This could be true or false depending on your definition of Sacramento power broker. From our research, 95 percent of Perez's campaign money has come from outside the district, mostly her party, but not all from Sacramento and not all from politicians.
"Anyone who is concerned about that, I would reiterate that my positions have been very, very different from a typical Democrat if you will," said Perez.
"When you're taking 95 percent of your money from outside the district, it doesn't seem like you have a lot of support" said Vidak over the phone.
"Perez supports spending taxes on high speed rail," said a Vidak ad.
That is true. It's based on a Perez quote in April from Fresno radio station, KMJ.
"In a down economy, it's a great time to invest in our infrastructure," said Perez on the radio program.
"Thirsty Los Angeles real estate interests who want our water put up $500,000 to elect Vidak," said a Perez ad.
This Perez ad is somewhat true. It refers to to the California Association of Realtors, which has spent more than $637,663 in support of Vidak.
"I don't coordinate with them at all, but they are interested in the health of this state," said Vidak.
Does the group want our water? Maybe. According to the state's legislative website, the group opposed a bill in 2001 that may have limited southern California's ability to take Central Valley Water Project water.
"It's a fair assumption that on my part, that they are interested in our water," said Perez. "They certainly aren't interested in developing here. They want our water."
"Perez has allies who oppose more water storage," said a Vidak ad.
This is true. Perez has at least three campaign contributors who opposed more water storage. Darryl Steinberg's Senate campaign contributed to Perez and a Hanford Sentinel article says Steinberg said "he'd like to see less money for storage and more for conservation." State Senators Mark Leno and Lois Wolk signed a pledge against a bond that would provide more water storage, and both of their political committees contributed to the Perez campaign. Perez, however, says she disagrees with those allies.
"Former defense attorney who put criminals on the streets," said a Vidak ad.
This is somewhat true. Perez was a Kern County public defender, a criminal defense attorney, and the court mandated her to provide the defense the Constitution guarantees.
"I have absolutely no authority nor have I ever to release any criminals into the streets. That's a widely inaccurate statement," said Perez.
But, Vidak stands behind his claim.
"She chose that job, and her job was to try to get as many people out as she could," said Vidak.
You may have noticed Vidak makes more claims against Perez. Perez said that's because her campaign was careful not to talk about Vidak. Vidak said he made the claim because they were true.
There is one more claim we're investigating in the ads. Andy Vidak says he created 2,000 jobs. We'll explain how he calculated that number and why the Perez campaign is attacking it on 17 News this Thursday.