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Adam Gray - Vague, Empty Boots
Adam Gray is Running for State Assembly, District 21
A flyer for Adam Gray arrived in the mail today. It's a neat little thing, unlike the typical 8-and-a-half by 11, double-sided color prints all the other candidates use to fill my box. I intentionally registered outside the two major political parties two years ago. Since then, every candidate competes for my vote.
It makes sense: independent voters could go either way, right?
I like to take each one and analyze the claims made by the sender (or made proxy by independent citizens' groups, uh-hum). It is also entertaining to investigate the slanderous smear campaigns against different candidates. I have learned three things reviewing all those flyers.
First, candidates with good-looking families should include family photos. Bill Berryhill's recent flyer for his state senate campaign is a good example. Candidates with horrible looking families: tattooed, earlobes stretched out, looking haggard while still living at home- they absolutely should not include family photos. As a piece of wisdom, no examples will be listed.
Second, when a smear campaign lists only very minor faults, like "She has a state car." Eliminate the candidate who mailed it out. Of course I want my representatives to drive a car and to have the public pay for the gas. Our representatives need to travel, don't they?
Third, when a candidate's self-claims are very vague, the candidate is dishonest. The little flyer from Adam Gray struck me as this type of ad- vague. And, by vague, I mean misleading.
First thing I noticed: Gray avoided claiming any party affiliation. Almost always, this means he is a Democrat. Is there a strategy amongst Dems to avoid association with the DNC?
Is Adam Gray part of "Valley farmers"?
"His first job was loading feed bags and washing barrels at his family's dairy supply..."
This, along with a photo of some boots and a backdrop of stacked, baled hay, attempt to create an image of a farmer.
He worked in a retail business. Sure, feed bags may be heavy, but so are the boxes the staff at the CVS unload every day. The Pepsi delivery man also lugs heavy cases of soda and flats of 2-liter bottles early in the morning before the sun rises. I myself earned my first wages- $2.85 per hour -racking pipe in my father's shop.
Working in a factory, even though it produced stanchions for cattle and tanks for flush systems and milk, does not make me country, does not make me ag, does not make me one with "Valley farmers".
Gray's ad seems to want me to believe just that- that Gray is somehow ag.
Honestly- the ad rubs me the wrong way, like a boot that doesn't fit and blisters your heel.
Married to Gary Condit's Daughter
I knew there must be a reason Adam Gray's wife never appears in his photos or ads. Surprise! It's because Gray wants to hide his long-time, lifelong association with career politicians. Gray is married-in. He is the mess that needs cleaning.
It's all in the family. Maybe that is why investors have trusted their futures to Gray with more than a million dollars.
Adam Gray - a Pair of Empty Boots
What it takes to keep farms and families going
"Most people in the State Capitol don't really understand about our Valley's economy, or what it takes to keep farms and families going. Because they never worked a day, or walked a mile in dusty boots."
Okay, I get that Adam has not yet finished his bachelor's degree. However, so those reading this do not leave with an example of bad grammar, know this: "state capitol" should not be capitalized unless it is the name or title of some specific place. In fact, I can't think of an example when it would correctly be capitalized. Next, under the same rule, "valley" is not capitalized unless it is a specific valley. Examples are San Joaquin Valley and Bear Valley.
Now, let's leave grammar.
And return to what the flyer gives us: Adam hefted some bags and washed some barrels, presumably with a hose. So, how does that cue him in to the finances of managing an agricultural operation? How does that qualify him to represent us in the state assembly?
Adam Gray's Experience
Adam Gray Assembly
"As a young staff member in the State Assembly, Adam worked hard to get rid of the "Tractor Tax" and exempt farm equipment from the State sales tax to help Valley farmers save jobs."
Again, I get it: the ad wants recipients to conclude candidate Gray is part of what really makes this valley thrive: agricultural small businesses.
But, is he really? I did some research on Adam Gray. I wondered, "What would his resume look like if I attempted to construct it from the vague information he's distributing?" Is the Adam Gray Assembly position something Californians want?
How Will You Vote?
If you live in District 21, Which Candidate will Receive Your Vote?
- 53% Jack Mobley
- 47% Adam Gray
This poll is now closed to voting.
Adam Gray's Resume
born: September 23, 1977
graduated high school: 1996
enrolled in Merced Community College: 1996
finished community college: 1998 or 1999 (most JC students take longer than 2 years. I blame the weak counseling.)
Enrolls at UC Santa Barbara (+ the beach): by 1998, reasonably
Leaves UC Santa Barbara without graduating: 1999 or 2000 (Gray's buddy Nathan Monroe graduated in 2000.)
1999/2000 to 2003: ? (Works for family dairy supply?)
leaves UC Santa Barbara: this is not at all clear. Some articles imply Gray departed to work with Dennis Cardoza, and stayed on. Others seem to say Gray left UC, and later joined with Cardoza. Cardoza was first elected in 2003. This leaves a 3 to 4 year gap between leaving UC Santa Barbara and working for Cardoza.
2003 to 2012: Another vague time period. There are three things in which Gray was a helper:
- The Tractor Tax (a state tax exemption)
- small business tax incentives
- deterrent laws to scrap metal theft
Gray claims "over 12 years on the staff of various office holders such as Dennis Cardoza and Gary Condit." (17 May, 2012, Merced County Times). That pushes the timeline all the way back to April, 2000 as the beginning of Gray's very vague association with Sacramento. The Merced Sun-Star (September 28, 2012) says Gray "returned home a couple of years ago." I'm not sure how work in Merced (Pop: 80,000) prepares a man for service at the state (pop: 37.7 million) level.
Of the three programs Gray mentions, in all of them, he only claims to have been a helper. What does that mean, exactly?
If Gray was in Sacramento all that time, what does he know about farmers in Merced and Modesto?
Is Adam Gray a Lecturer at UC Merced?
On October 4, 2012, I pulled this from Adam Gray's facebook page:
"serves as a course assistant/lecturer on the state legislature at UC Merced."
That sounds like he is top of the game, right? Wrong. Gray is being dishonest and misleading again. In fact, Gray is at UC Merced to finish his own degree. The listing of Gray as a lecturer, apparently, was an "accident" (Merced Sun-Star, Sept 28, 2012). However, the claim by Gray that he is a lecturer (and still on his Facebook page, as of this writing) is no mistake. The Sun-Star article says Gray had a part-time job teaching political science. The instructor, apparently is a former classmate of Gray's. I suspect this friend is the same person who has organized a debate for October 11th at UC Merced, in the California Room, at 6:15. This is Nathan W. Monroe. Monroe's UC page lists him as an "Associate Professor".
That would make Gray "assistant to the associate" more than "lecturer".
I also tutored and worked my way through college. My tutoring was also a part-time job. I also tutored students in Calculus courses, and corrected homework and exams. But, I have no misunderstanding: I was a humble, bottom of the heap, assistant, nothing more. I would never confuse that with being a "lecturer."
When I studied at the University of Pennsylvania, I sat in on the lecturer's rotation. Famous and talented psychologists and researchers from all over the United States came and shared their findings with professors, grad students, and anyone else who wanted to listen. Gray avoided calling himself a professor. But, the title of "lecturer" is also defined in academia. It's not a tutor.
In the June 5, 2012 election, Adam Gray listed as his occupation "University Lecturer/ Advisor." And, it is a LIE. The University of Merced, in an email to Jack Mobley, stated
"Adam Gray is a course tutor, not a faculty member or a lecturer," -Scott Hernandez-Jason, senior public information representative, UC Merced
Is this deception? You decide. Since Gray's first-choice claim as to his occupation is untrue, according to the university, what is his real occupation? What about all that (vague) helping up in Sacramento? Why did he not list his title there?
If Gray keeps this up, he's going to need taller boots.
Adam Gray is not listed in UC Merced course rosters or in UC Merced catalogs. I searched the UC Merced catalogs for 2009-2011 and for 2011-2013. No surprise- Adam Gray is not there.
I did find Nathan Monroe, Gray's buddy from UC Santa Barbara, in the Summer 2012 course schedule. Monroe taught 32 students in a class with 45 seats and another research course offered for just 1 student, which was filled. So, Monroe taught 33 students.
Despite Nathan Monroe's "tenured professor" (assistant professor on UC Merced's site) signature block on his letter to the Merced Sun Star, and Monroe's explanation about how he invited Gray to help teach a course... Adam Gray has no real right to call himself an instructor/lecturer.
Gray still has not graduated himself. How can he lecture to other undergrads?
Facebook photos of students: Adam Gray's Facebook page shows pictures of students holding signs supporting Adam Gray. One says, "Mr. Gray gave me an A". That is, of course, impossible. Only a recognized, legitimate instructor can file a grade with the university. So, Gray did not give grades to anyone. It's possible Gray calculated them, like a teacher's assistant might do, and that Asst. Prof. Monroe accepted Gray's calculations and filed them. However, the fact is: Nathan Monroe gave the grades, he was their instructor.
Many times, I helped my wife do the accounting for her job as country manager for a business in Ukraine. However, I do not list that experience on my resume. And, Gray helping his buddy and participating as a guest speaker is all that happened at UC Merced, imo.
PS- If you look at the photos of Gray's students, do not fail to notice that all the people who made a capital G made them exactly the same. Also notice that they all used new, fresh markers with the same tip width and all used the same size of white poster board.
Adam Gray's Income
Does Gray Know how to be Bi-Partisan?
Gray says he can be bipartisan and make things work in Sacramento. Really? The California State Assembly currently has 52 Dems and 28 Republicans. The senate is also led by Democrats, who hold 25 of 40 seats.
If things are failing, it rests squarely with the Democrats. That is uni-partisan. For it to be bipartisan, it must involve another party to accomplish a goal. The Democrats don't need anyone else, however. They can resolve any issue on their own.
It may seem like a moot point for a member of the party completely controlling both houses of the state government to say he will work across the aisle with other political party members. Why would he ever need to?
The real reason Gray's flyer says this is because political analysts believe independent voters vote for candidates who claim they will be bi-partisan. But, in California, it is a silly comment for a Democrat to make. It is even silly for a Republican to make. What would a Republican bargain with?
Adam Gray- Part of What Needs to Get Booted Out of Government
After the first flyer, I realized Adam Gray wants us to believe he is ag, or cowboy, or down with hard work, or something.
However, it seems all he has to back this up is a job he held more than a decade ago. He worked for his father. Didn't all of us break into work with a job laboring, or in fast food? I also grew up working summers on my grandfather's ranch. I woke at 4, fed the cattle, watched the levees, and shot squirrels from the passenger side of grandpa's pickup.
Still, I don't call myself a cowboy, or say I know about "hard work". Reason is: I left and went to college. So did Adam Gray. A few years ago, at the World Ag Fair in Tulare, a client wanted me to stand at his booth and promote his work. He bought me a pair of boots and a Carhart jacket. I said it was fraud, and declined to wear them.
Adam Gray has no such problem. He left early, off to college. So did I (but first to the Marines).
Part of the Entrenched Special Interests
Adam Gray is endorsed by all the powerful groups infamous for moving government in directions contrary to the will of the people. He moved back to Merced from Sacramento as part of a strategy, some writers have mentioned. He is well-funded by his handlers, I mean supporters, too. Gray is dumping money into his campaign. Refrigerator magnets, pot holders... Gray is sending them out.
Why Pot holders and refrigerator magnets?
In the 2008 presidential election, the American Psychological Association actually issued a statement acknowledging that Barack Obama used psychological ploys to manipulate peoples' sentiment toward him.
This cheap tactic- using psychology to manipulate you via your subconscious mind - has not escaped Gray. Psychological studies have shown that people automatically attribute more prestige to a name or a face they recognize. According to a mechanism psychologists call the Stroop effect, the mind automatically reads all written words crossing the visual screen. Together, it is easy to see how planting the name "Adam Gray" on your refrigerator and in your hand is a way to make himself recognized and subconsciously popular with you.
[Note: I studied psychology in the world's top clinical program. I know what I'm talking about here.]
It has become a cheap tactic to use psychological manipulation to gain votes. Ever wonder why Obama was compared so often with Kennedy and with Lincoln? It is because polls show large positive feelings toward those presidents. By creating a link in the minds of voters between Obama and JFK, they elevate the positive association of the name Barack Obama.
So, what associations are Adam Gray promoters trying to create in your head? Look at all the photos: hay. boots. cow. tomatoes.
What words do they use when speaking about him? Answer: dairy, tractor, families, work hard.
But, Gray lacks the background to back that up. Dairy men (agribusiness operators) work hard. Up early, dirty all day. Accountant, statistician, multitasking project managers... These people work hard. Washing barrels, however, is just busy work. How many barrels did they have in his parents' business, anyway?
Adam Gray looks to me like just another married-in bureaucrat. You should fully expect him to attempt to say the right things, and to then do whatever his bosses tell him.
Can Adam Gray Clean up a Mess?
He keeps saying he knows how to clean up a mess. He's done it before...
Really? When? When he worked under the direction of Gary Condit? When he worked for Dennis Cardoza? What did he do? Clean up coffee spills? Adam Gray gives nothing but methane on what he actually did as a helper on the Tractor Tax or the other projects with which he has been loosely associated.
Truth is, Adam Gray IS THE MESS. He is a buddy in the good old boys' club.
Personally, I believe the only reason he keeps saying he knows how to clean up a mess has nothing to do with proven ability. Instead, it seems to be about fooling voters into thinking he is the opposite of what he is: part of the entrenched problem.
Where Does Adam Gray Stand on the Issues?
According to Vote Smart, Adam Gray refused to answer any questions pertaining to his position on the issues in Vote Smart's "Political Courage Test" for the 2012 election. See link below in Resources & Further Reading.
A Bunch of Tomato Seeds?
Gray wants us to believe he's down with Ag, down with "the Valley". But, does he not know that tomato seeds go in the ground in warm weather? Apparently, he doesn't. Otherwise, he must have gotten a discount on the advertising package he mailed out in late October. I received a packet of tomato seeds on October 26, 2012.
Inside, I found a meager offering of seeds.
Is there some symbolism here? Out of season: Adam Gray is a product of the boys' club we want out of government: established, complacent, propped up by big donors, complacent as far as the common man's interests are concerned... But a real go-fer when it comes to the special interests who funded his campaign.
The other thing about tomato plants: they alter the soil where they have been squatting (like in a government chair). They grow better where they've grown before, just like the entrenched politicians and their system of elevating their own.
The season for fat cats is over. Time to vote for Jack Mobley, a proven leader. Leave Adam Gray in the bag.
Adam Gray's Dirty Hands
What do Dirty Hands Mean?
How many times will Adam Gray's big money backers tell us about cleaning barrels at his grandfather's business? Is Gray so detached from the common man he fails to understand that all of us have worked manual labor jobs? What kind of grunt work do we think Jack Mobley performed in the military? He was deployed to combat theaters, after all.
As a veteran, I stood in the sand and laid out my field of fire and set up defensive perimeters. I have also lived on my family business (a ranch), and rose at 4:30 to throw hay to cattle. I have worked the levees and irrigated my grandfather's fields and orchards. I would take working in my family business over deployment (if it weren't for the heart of service by which we soldiers volunteer).
Head to Head, Gray vs. Mobley, barrel-hoser vs. battle-tested retired Air Force, the choice is easy: Jack Mobley.
Gray and his campaign are a joke. He is a student and tutor at UC Merced.
Gray Throws Mud at Mobley
The hypocrisy of Gray in name-calling Mobley a dirty campaigner is a little bit of a catch-22. If someone is dirty, and you call them dirty, you are guilty of the same name-calling, even if it is true.
For Mobley, there is no hypocrisy. Mobley is identifying his opponent as the man Gray really is. When does it become mud-slinging? If it is the truth, then Mobley is doing us a service by warning us.
California Apartment Association Independent Expenditure Committee
These are the people who "proudly paid for" and mailed out the most recent flyer supporting Adam Gray.
The California Apartment Association is a Sacramento-based group with a focus on law. I read through a set of their minutes. It seems like a legitimate group. Most likely, they support Adam Gray because Gray espouses their own ideals, which is a fair and legitimate endeavor.
However, is washing barrels the best credential they could find to promote their preference?
I voted early this morning, November 6, 2012. I was glad to vote for Jack Mobley. However, I was even more excited to vote against Adam Gray. My research on Mobley gives me confidence he can get the job done. My research on Gray gives me confidence that he certainly will "get his hands dirty".
Resources & Further Reading
- Member of the State Assembly; District 21 Election Information June 5, 2012 Election
Official June 5, 2012 results: 45.4% for Jack Mobley; 32.4% for Adam Gray
- Nathan W. Monroe | University of California, Merced
Gray's buddy who likely helped him get his "lecturer" position (read: tutor) at UC Merced. Note that Monroe is an "Assistant Professor". That makes Gray assistant to the assistant... pretty far from "lecturer".
- California State Legislature - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia