Setting the record straight on Jewish Journal publisher Rob Eshman’s false statements

An open letter to journalists covering the Jewish Journal’s February 21 candidate forum in the 30th congressional district at Temple Judea in Tarzana:

I’d like to formally set the record straight and answer Jewish Journal publisher Rob Eshman’s continuing false statements that my campaign is not “viable,” that I haven’t or hadn’t “filed,” and that my campaign is “just a website.”

On January 5, 2012, the Woodland Hills-Tarzana Chamber of Commerce held a 30th congressional district candidate forum in which I participated along with Mark Reed and the two Democratic incumbents. Shortly thereafter, the Jewish Journal decided to hold its own candidate forum in California’s 30th district. They invited Congressmen Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, but they invited only one of the two Republican candidates. They invited Mark Reed and they did not invite me. Someone tipped me to this before the forum was announced, and I wrote to Rob Eshman to inquire if I was going to be invited. He wrote back that he had established “criteria” of fundraising, endorsements and political organization, and that the three invited candidates met the criteria. He thanked me for “understanding.”

I wrote back and made the case that he had no valid basis to include Mark Reed and exclude me, but I received no response.

Gary Aminoff, the first vice chairman of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County, wrote to Mr. Eshman the next day and stated that he considered me to be a viable and well-funded Republican candidate, one of two, along with Mark Reed, who were running in the 30th district race. He wrote that he had spoken to Republican Party elected officials including County Supervisors Mike Antonovich and Don Knabe and Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, and that all were “appalled” that the Jewish Journal was excluding a viable, well-funded candidate from the forum. Mr. Aminoff received no response for days, and then when he followed up, Mr. Eshman wrote back that I was not a “real contender.”

When the forum was announced, reporters called Mr. Eshman to inquire why I was being excluded. He told the Los Angeles Times that I lacked “name recognition.” He told the Los Angeles Daily News, “When we were putting this together, she hadn’t even formally filed.” He compared my campaign to that of a local gardener who is trying to get on the ballot, telling both papers that all I had was a website.

Mr. Eshman’s statements are factually false.

The fact that reporters and others called the Jewish Journal to ask why I was being excluded from the forum demonstrates a degree of name recognition, although Mr. Eshman never cited that as one of his “criteria” at the time he told me that I was excluded from the forum.

The filing period for the race opened on February 13, 2012. None of the candidates had “formally filed” at the time the Jewish Journal was “putting this together.” Some candidates pulled “signatures in lieu” papers on December 30, 2011, in order to collect enough signatures to reduce their filing fee, but there is no reason that this should be considered evidence of “viability.”

If Mr. Eshman was referring to FEC registration, which he never cited to me, this is not a valid basis to include Mark Reed in the forum while excluding me. Mr. Reed’s FEC registration is carried over from his unsuccessful 2010 run against Brad Sherman in the 27th district. According to his FEC reports for 2011, he raised significantly less than the $5,000 necessary to register a campaign committee for the 2012 race and at year-end had less than $4,000 cash on hand. I entered the race in September, and in January I had not yet reached the $5,000 level myself. I will be registering my committee with the FEC shortly.

My campaign is much more than just a website. My campaign consultant is Nancy J. Spero, the state executive vice chair of the California Republican League. My senior adviser is Susan Abato, formerly the San Fernando Valley regional co-chair of the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. I have been endorsed by former Republican congressional candidate David Benning, for whom I served as Director of Communications in 2010, by Bradly Torgan; president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Los Angeles, by Paul M Fredrix, chair of the 42nd Assembly District Republican Central Committee; and, outside the world of politics, I’ve been endorsed by Dick Carson, the Emmy-winning director of “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson,” “The Merv Griffin Show,” and “Wheel of Fortune,” for whom I worked at an earlier time in my career. I’ve given lengthy live radio interviews to KFIV AM in Modesto, California, and to WCUW FM in Worcester, Massachusetts, and my campaign has been covered by the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, the online local news publication, The Burbank Leader, and even the Jewish Journal. I’ve been invited to candidate forum events organized by the Woodland Hills-Tarzana Chamber of Commerce, the Granada Hills Chamber of Commerce, the Economics and Political Science Department of Pierce College, and the Porter Ranch and West Hills Neighborhood Councils. I’ve been invited to speak to the Woodland Hills Republican Women Federated Club as well as the RWF clubs in Encino and West Hills, the Log Cabin Republicans of Los Angeles, and the San Fernando Valley Republican Club. Far from being a gardener, I’m the author of the novel “The 37th Amendment,” and of a modern history of the Bill of Rights titled, “How the First Amendment Came to Protect Topless Dancing.”

On February 13, the day the filing period opened, I took out nomination papers and paid the full $1,740 filing fee, as can be seen on the County’s website, I have collected in excess of the forty signatures of registered voters necessary to qualify for the ballot and most likely will have filed them at the county offices in Norwalk by the time you read this.

Mr. Eshman continues to state that I am not a “viable” candidate, which I believe is a statement in opposition to my candidacy, and to exclude me from the forum, which I believe is detrimental to my campaign. My attorney, Mark Bernsley, has filed a complaint with the IRS against Tribe Media Corp., owner of the Jewish Journal, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization prohibited by law from taking any action to support or oppose a candidate.

Yours sincerely,

Susan Shelley
Republican candidate for Congress
California District 30

More information:

The L.A. Daily News

The Los Angeles Times

L.A. Observed

About Susan Shelley
Susan Shelley is a Republican candidate for Congress in California’s 30th district, the west and south San Fernando Valley. She’s the author of the novel “The 37th Amendment” and of a modern history of the Bill of Rights titled, “How the First Amendment Came to Protect Topless Dancing.” She graduated from California State University Northridge with B.A. in American history and went on to work for Merv Griffin Enterprises as a secretary and then a production assistant, eventually becoming the Associate Producer of “Jeopardy!” before going on to be a full-time writer. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, and other papers around the country as well as on the Internet. She served as the Director of Communications for Republican congressional candidate David Benning in 2010.

Susan Shelley posted at 2012-2-17 Category: Uncategorized