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Hawkins Calls Central Basin Campaign Attacks ‘Phony Political Advertising’

LA Times City Editor blasts Hawkins in statement to LCCN

By Brian Hews and Jerry Bernstein

It is being called the ‘dirty water campaign.’
Central Basin Water District Board incumbent Phil Hawkins went on the attack Monday taking on his two rivals for recent statements made in Los Cerritos Community Newspaper.
Hawkins, a longtime Cerritos resident, and a former member of the California State Assembly, said that a series of print advertisements in Los Cerritos Community Newspaper have been a “phony political ad” attack.
In an interview with LCCN Editor Jerry Bernstein and Reporter Randy Economy on Monday afternoon, Hawkins went on the offense by singling out his two rivals, Assemblyman Tony Mendoza and Cerritos community leader Jay Gray for “conducting a dirty and deliberate campaign” against him by “twisting the facts” regarding several articles that recently appeared in both the Los Angeles Times and on local television news casts written by a writer who the Times now questions even exists.
“This campaign is going to be about scare tactics, and half truths, and in some cases just flat out lies,” Hawkins said.
But in an interview with Shelby Grad, City Editor of the Los Angeles Times, Hawkins needs to be held accountable for his past statements.
“We wanted to clarify several comments made in the story. Despite what Mr. Hawkins said, The Times has never retracted any of its articles about the Central Municipal Basin Water District and we never told officials there that the article was “bogus.” The Times stands by our stories. Moreover, there has never been any confusion over the authors of those stories.”
In the advertisements published in Los Cerritos Community Newspaper during the past three weeks, Hawkins claims that his opponents have taken excerpts from that particular article and have “twisted the facts” for their own “political benefits.”
Hawkins said that Mendoza was “misstating the truth” about current residential water rates offered by Central Basin for his “own political gain.” He said it true the District raised the rates 40 percent but a breakdown of the increase reveals it cost the District $18 per acre foot, down from $25. “That’s enough water to provide a family of four with water for one year. Our bond rating is Triple A, the highest you can have for bonds, and our District building is paid for,” Hawkins said.
Also he claims that when he was elected to the Board 12 years ago the District had a $1 million deficit. “Today we have a surplus,” he said and he didn’t think that demonstrated that the District was “corrupt.”
Hawkins also dismissed the claims that his association with Tom Calderon, who is the head of a public advocacy consulting firm by Central Basin to conduct “outreach efforts” to local and state elected officials was not done as a political “favor.”
“His (Tom Calderon) experience as a former California state legislator, and as the head of the Calderon Group makes him experienced in acting as a consultant for Central Basin since 2004 in dealing with the State on Water issues, especially on the need for water storage” and other issues such as water recycling and “fighting the Metropolitan Water District and Water Replenishment District’s rate increases to local cities.”
Hawkins also told LCCN that Calderon, who himself is currently running for a state assembly seat in the newly created 58th Assembly District that stretches from Bell Gardens and Commerce southeast into Cerritos “contributed $300 to one of my past campaigns, and has not contributed to this current campaign.”
But according to campaign reports obtained by LCCN, Hawkins did receive thousands of dollars in contribution from “The Calderon Group” and other political action committees controlled by Tom Calderon.
During Hawkins 2008 reelection, Tom Calderon contributed $1500 to Hawkins, and in addition, the Political Action Committee called California Citizens for Good Government doled out $4,750 for that same 2008 campaign during October of that year, a month before his last campaign.
“In summary, Phil has lied about the contributions he has received from Tom Calderon and has used a deceptive PAC controlled by Tom Calderon to funnel an additional $4,750 to Phil’s last campaign,” Rob Katherman, a Director of the Southern California Water Replenishment District told LCCN in an email on Wednesday.
The complete video interview with Hawkins and LCCN can be found at www.loscerritosnews.net.

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3 Comments on "Hawkins Calls Central Basin Campaign Attacks ‘Phony Political Advertising’"

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Samuel Johnson
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“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful” Getting Soaked; You out to close your mouth before choking. You should have confined your comments to what your views were on the water board. As President Lincoln said it is better to be quiet and thought of as a fool than to speak out and remove alll doubt. You clearly know nothing about Mr.Mendoza.He was booted out as Chair of the Latino Caucus because of questionable fundraising tactics which he tried to keep secret. Before he left as chair, he embezzeled or converted $50,000… Read more »
Getting Soaked
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Back door money laundering and political paybacks. Phil Hawkins is the perfect example of EVERYTHING that is wrong with politics. It’s no wonder that Central Basin Municipal Water has been one of the first state agencies to be called out as a “high-risk” agency and as a result, is the focus of a full state audit. I think the simple word CALDERON which appears numerous times in this article says it all. Those Calderon’s have exploited the people they represent for decades and now Tom wants to return for another serving at the feed barrel? And Chuck’s son Ian wants… Read more »
Debra Morgan
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Come on Phil, you sound like a blabbering idiot. It doesn’t matter what the dollar amount of an increase is, if it’s 40%, then it’s 40%! The LA Times has shown all of Los Angeles what a corrupt, self-serving bunch of low-lifes you all are. And now that mad-dog Randy is on your trail, you’re finished Philly Boy. I think either Jay Gray or Tony Mendoza would do a great job, but then again, a six year old could do a better job than you Phil Hawkins. My only concern is, HOW MUCH MONEY WILL Phil and his crooked cronies… Read more »