Just My Opinion…
Exactly Who Is Janet Reilly?
I had some time recently to peruse the websites of the Bay Area assembly candidates Janet Reilly and Fiona Ma. Fiona’s website is yet to be up and running so I cruised through Janet’s rather expansive site and a few things jumped out at me.
I have no idea what she plans to do about any of the issues she’s highlighted
She’s informed us that our schools are not improving, the cost of a college education is skyrocketing, it is becoming almost impossible to find affordable housing, California prisons are overcrowded and draining our budget, more Californians are going without health insurance, our California economy is struggling, we are not investing in ways to reduce traffic and congestion. Under each one of these statements are hyperlinks to numerous news stories that, lest we failed to notice it ourselves, these really are serious problems we Californians are facing. Now that I know what we are facing, what is Janet going to do to resolve these shortcomings? I couldn’t find the answers. Personally, I prefer that candidates avoid the usual generalized statements that all candidates make and go directly to boldface statements as to how they plan to resolve our problems. Candidates always say they want to do good things for the state, but I want to know how they are going to do it before I decide how I’m going to vote. I don’t know what Janet is going to do to improve schools, to lower the cost of a college education, to create affordable housing. She did mention that she plans to engage experts and community leaders in a discussion about improving the region. That’s a good idea, however, it happens every legislative session as legislative leaders, community leaders, activists and the interested public all have input into legislative bills as the bills move their way through the legislative process and guess what? We still have a mess on our hands. What will Janet do differently?
I was struck by the extent to which she and her husband, Clint Reilly, are involved with the Catholic Church
Clint is the President of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities CYO. Between the two of them, they serve on various charitable organizations, including Shanti, Epiphany Center for Families, Loaves and Fishes, Sacred Heart School and Catholic Charities. Given her involvement with the Catholic Church, I would love to know her position on abortion, birth control, gay rights, same sex marriage and AIDS funding, just in case any of these issues should come before her on the floor of the Assembly.
And speaking of Clint…
Her website includes pictures of her daughters at various events with her, but there are no pictures of Mr. Reilly. Why is he so absent from her campaign?
She’s extremely thin skinned
There have been at least two incidents in which she seemed to become angered and terribly hurt over things said about her and her family. In one incident, Fiona sent out a typical fundraising letter noting that her opponent had the potential to tap into her wealthy husband’s money to help fund her campaign and Fiona was asking her supporters to ante up some cash to help Fiona’s funding. In Fiona’s letter she makes the following statements:
The dark side is gathering again…I am running against a well-funded challenger, a person who has the ability to self-finance with millions of dollars in personal money. my opponent is Janet Reilly. While Mrs. Reilly has never held elective office, she’s married to former political consultant and real estate tycoon Clint Reilly, who spent over $4 million on his own unsuccessful attempt to become San Francisco mayor in 1997.
On her blog site, Janet responds to this fundraising letter by blasting the name calling and the attack on her family. One person commented to Janet’s response by stating that Clint Reilly and his profession are viewed in a negative light by some of the citizens of San Francisco. In her lengthy response, Janet points out that she’s a Golden Gate Bridge Board Director and former vice-president of a major corporation and is shocked that either a man or a woman would minimize her as someone’s wife. It’s ok to be identified as someone’s mother but not someone’s wife? Face it, Fiona didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Janet REILLY is Mrs. Clint Reilly, we know how wealthy he is, that’s he’s had an unsuccessful political career of his own, and that he probably is poised to pour a ton of money into supporting her campaign. And where’s the name calling? Where’s the attack? If she’s this upset about a simple fundraising letter, what will it be like when she is in the Assembly, in the throes of a take-no-prisoners legislative battle, with lobbyists, interest groups, and constituents lined up to hate her or love her depending on how she votes, and with every intention of letting her know, in no uncertain terms, exactly how they feel about her?
In the other incident, San Francisco Weekly reporter Matt Smith described Janet, in an article about Clint
hiring Eric Jaye to be Janet’s campaign manager, as
“…a thin, attractive, forty something, blond former press flack for
ex L.A. Mayor Dick Riordan…” and Janet took offense and wrote a letter to the editor. She aligned his comments with those
made about Julie Lee. She called it superficial gender stereotyping and name calling. In Matt Smith’s defense, Janet is
a thin, attractive, forty something, blond and she did work for Riordan, so he’s not exactly enlightening us with his
observations. As far as superficial gender stereotyping, I’m reflecting back on the 2003 mayoral race and the constant
press references to the physical attractiveness of both candidates, the endless comments about their hair and clothes. There
was the San Francisco Chronicle’s informal, on-the-street poll of young, single women who were asked about the degree of
attractiveness of each candidate. And then there was the San Francisco Chronicle’s interactive dress-the-candidate
website. Superficial gender stereotyping indeed! And I still don’t see any name calling.
Perhaps as the campaign gains momentum, Janet’s positions will be clarified beyond hyperlinks. I will be particularly interested in her position on women’s health issues.
Note: There are already a few whispers about Fiona bowing out of the race because of the line up of supporters behind Janet. A quick look at Janet’s financial supporters so far shows a pretty ho-hum group: Gerardo Sandoval, Henry Louis, Janet Reilly, Clint Reilly, Joe Reilly, Bessie Reilly, Leo McCarthy, Alioto Law Firm, Michela Alioto, Jake McGoldrick, Dulcy Anderson (employed by the Westly for Governor Campaign), and several people connected with Catholic charities. Fiona’s campaign contributors include: Arthur Rock, Warren Hellman, Bill Fazio, San Francisco Apartment Association PAC, Daro Inouye, City Club of San Francisco, Scoma’s Restaurant, Golden Gate Restaurant Association PAC, Susie Tompkins Buell, Mark Buell, Susan Leal, San Francisco Police Officers Association, Pier 39 Limited Partnership, Wells Fargo CA PAC, Mark Leno for Assembly 2005, and Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis. It might be too early to count Fiona out of the race.