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Planning For Reality

Kate Sears Responds – Doubles Down on Koch Brothers Conspiracy Allegations

Late yesterday afternoon, The Marin Post received the following email from Marin County Supervisor Kate Sears, commenting on my recent blogs in the Marin Post (All the Supervisor's Men, The Devil Made Me Do It, and Elections Are Not Only About Issues).


Your coverage of my poll is anything but fair. I assume that's because you did not hear the poll yourself. Contrary to your reporting, the poll did not change the questions depending on answers. It also did not talk about Susan Kirsch's campaign taking money from the Koch brothers.

The 21 minute poll asked, as part of a much broader question, whether it bothered voters if they knew: "Her organization, Citizen Marin, has worked with organizations affiliated with the Koch brothers". You should ask Susan Kirsch for an explanation. If Ms. Kirsch's organization, Citizen Marin, has not in fact worked with Bay Area Citizens and the organization it hired, Pacific Legal Foundation - a Koch brothers funded organization - to do their legal work against Plan Bay Area, I hope she will say so.

Citizen Marin's website links to Bay Area Citizens and its chairman, Peter Singleton, has endorsed Ms. Kirsch. Now is the time for Susan to be transparent about Citizen Marin's affiliations, relationships, and donors. Marin voters, with high standards and keen interest in who is funding organizations, deserve to know the truth.


Here then is my response to Supervisor Sears.

Dear Kate:

All I can say is that this response is even more remarkable than the one we got from Mr. Terris, in his response to me on April 1st. Do you really want to continue to defend your actions based on guilt by association?

You say I’m not being fair. Is your fear-mongering fair? You know, the higher the horse you ride on, the further the fall.

You realize, don’t you, that by continuing on this tack, you’re aligning yourself with some of the worst internet trolls and slanderers who inhabit the Comments Section of the Marin IJ?

But, okay, have it your way. Let’s run with this.

You’re alleging that everyone who’s come to us, independently, with the same recounting about your poll is wrong. You’re saying that unless people quote the exact wording of the biased questions they were asked, everything they told us about their experience taking the survey is invalid?

You're suggesting that because I didn’t take the poll, that somehow disqualifies my opinion. Well, I’m sorry, they just didn’t call me. But are you suggesting that no one should be allowed to write about anything that they personally haven’t experienced? Are you saying that Woodward and Bernstein had no right to write about Watergate because they didn’t participate in the break in?

As I’ve already explained, the accounts related to us by survey participants are consistent. The smear tactics you’re relying on are looking pretty threadbare.

To the best of my knowledge, Citizen Marin was formed by Susan Kirsch, a lifetime Democrat and an elected member of the Marin Democratic Central Committee, and by Leslie Peterson, a lifetime Republican, upon the suggestion of Dick Spotswood (a Koch Brothers operative?). Its premise was to create an open forum where community leaders of all types from all over Marin could come once a month to exchange ideas and share information. They are funded by small donations from participants. They literally pass the hat at meetings.

You make the accusation that

Citizen Marin's website links to Bay Area Citizens and its chairman, Peter Singleton, has endorsed Ms. Kirsch.

Wow. That’s solid evidence.

The Citizen Marin web site also links to the web sites of The Marin Coalition, The Strawberry Community Association, Community Venture Partners, and Sustainable Tam/Almonte. In addition, many of the individuals in those organizations have attended each other’s events, even paid to do so and, even sat and ate lunch together, or worse donated to each other’s causes. My goodness, this means that hundreds of people in Marin are all secret Koch Brothers operatives.

Who knew? Have you seen the latest Illuminati video on Youtube? Maybe there’s another clue in it.

Boy, where is Senator McCarthy when we need him?

This is just so ridiculous that it would be really funny if it weren’t for the fact that you hold one of the highest elected offices in our County.

I’ve been to Citizen Marin meetings. I’ve met Peter Singleton and can't say I always agree with a lot of things he says. But I think we’re supposed to fight for his right to say it, aren’t we? I also know Brad Paul, Deputy Director of ABAG. He’s also been to Citizen Marin meetings and met Peter Singleton. In fact, Pat Eklund, Larry Chu, Carla Condon, Pam Drew, Denise Athas and almost half the elected council members of Marin cities have participated in Citizen Marin meetings since it was founded. Many of them have even talked with Peter Singleton.

Do all of us now stand accused of “working with organizations affiliated with the Koch Brothers?”

Are you really going to hang your entire political career on this defense? Is this the kind of judgment you bring to your job as County Supervisor?

You wrote,

If Ms. Kirsch's organization, Citizen Marin, has not in fact worked with Bay Area Citizens and the organization it hired, Pacific Legal Foundation - a Koch brothers funded organization - to do their legal work against Plan Bay Area, I hope she will say so.

First of all, if you have a question of Susan Kirsch, why not just ask her? Secondly, is being accused of something by you, with no evidence, now grounds for someone to be held accountable? Surely, you know that all candidates are required to follow the same rules on disclosures of donations, right?

Please tell us, Kate, just how many degrees of separation does it take to get on your personal Blacklist?

Susan Kirsch is a member of Citizen Marin (one degree). Peter Singleton has attended Citizen Marin meetings (two degrees). Peter Singleton is a member of Bay Area Citizens, and he personally endorsed Susan - along with hundreds of other people (three degrees). Bay Area Citizens hired a nonprofit foundation, Pacific Legal Foundation (four degrees), which you allege is a Koch Brothers funded organization (five degrees).

This means Susan Kirsch "has worked with organizations affiliated with the Koch Brothers"? Would you like me to ask Susan if she’s stopped beating her husband?

Don’t you think it’s possible that everyone in Marin, including you and me, are also within a few degrees of separation from someone we don’t agree with or worse?

Let’s try this. You work for the County (one degree). The County benefits from direct financial relationships and investments with major banks and financial institutions, most of whom have pleaded guilty to various crimes since 2008 (two degrees). Pretty much all your donors probably have accounts at and direct relationships with those same banks and financial institutions (three degrees). Those banks and financial institutions have direct relationships and in fact make their living underwriting debt and securities, and servicing major corporations, such as Exxon, Monsanto, and Koch Industries - the second largest privately held company in the U.S. (four degrees).

Voila! Clearly, you and your donors have “worked with organizations affiliated with the Koch Brothers.”

Kate, associating with people that you might not agree with is not “evidence” of being your brother’s keeper. Talking to different people with different views is actually a really good thing to do. You ought to try it sometime.

No offense to Citizen Marin, but as far as I can tell, their meetings attendees are usually so diverse that I don’t think they could agree on what to order on their pizza, much less mount a conspiratorial movement that would merit the Koch Brothers' attention.

In all this, though, I am starting to understand something. At first, I thought you were just being poorly advised, but now I realize you really believe this stuff. It’s as if you’re so indoctrinated in backroom subterfuge and closed-door politics that you don’t even recognize sunlight when you see it.

Maybe you should get out among your constituents more?

And finally, what the heck does any of this have to do with why anyone should vote for you?!

Bob Silvestri