Political Notebook

Clint Olivier demands Joaquin Arambula condemn attack ad in Assembly race

Fresno Republican Clint Olivier, right, is calling on his 31st Assembly District opponent, Kingsburg Democrat Joaquin Arambula, to repudiate a negative, anti-Olivier ad campaign funded by an independent group. Olivier says the group took words he used during a radio interview and selectively edited them to make him look bad.
Fresno Republican Clint Olivier, right, is calling on his 31st Assembly District opponent, Kingsburg Democrat Joaquin Arambula, to repudiate a negative, anti-Olivier ad campaign funded by an independent group. Olivier says the group took words he used during a radio interview and selectively edited them to make him look bad.

Back in November, Clint Olivier did a wide-ranging radio interview that touched on some of the Fresno Republican’s libertarian leanings.

Olivier, a Fresno city councilman running for the 31st Assembly District, said clean water was a luxury in the U.S. because it is something so much of the world doesn’t have. He talked about education and how it comes with a monetary cost, but some think it should be free.

“You have a right to life, liberty and the right to own property, and everything else is a luxury item,” he said during the broadcast.

Earlier this month, an independent, Sacramento-based organization that supports Olivier’s opponent, Kingsburg Democrat Joaquin Arambula, started airing political ads and sending mail pieces to 31st District voters that used Olivier’s words from that radio interview.

“You will come across different people in our society and go out in the street and people will say you have a right to clean water,” Oliver says in one of the organization’s ads. “That’s a luxury item. People will say you have a right to an education. You have a right to clean air.”

Do you feel these are rights? the host asks Olivier.

“I don’t,” he responds.

Olivier says his words were chopped up and reassembled to make him sound heartless. It is, he says, a totally inaccurate ad.

Olivier held a news conference Monday at The Fulton Group radio offices in downtown Fresno, where he called on Arambula to “man up” and repudiate the ads, which he called misleading.

“He has had the opportunity to condemn these ads for being complete falsehoods and complete lies and he has not condemned these ads,” Olivier said. “This has to stop. I’m absolutely sick of it.”

Even worse, Olivier says, Arambula has publicly repeated some of the statements.

Olivier said both candidates signed a “Code of Fair Campaign Practices” that says they will “publicly repudiate” negative campaigning. His campaign even set up a website – http://www.arambulies.com – to highlight the issue.

In a written statement, Arambula didn’t support the ads but hinted they contain a kernel of truth.

“While I cannot condone the ads by this independent group, they do raise a serious issue,” the statement said. “Time and time again Councilman Olivier has stated he does not believe that the people of the Central Valley have a right to clean air and clean water. I do.”

Arambula said the news conference was nothing more than “an attempt to distract from the fact that he’s just another politician with no vision for the Valley.”

The issue is the latest flare-up in what is becoming an increasingly bitter battle between the two men leading up to an April 5 special election to fill the unexpired term of Fresno Democrat Henry T. Perea, who resigned from the seat a year early. But the battle will likely last most of the year because the two – along with Caruthers Democrat Ted Miller – are battling not just to fill Perea’s unexpired term, but also will face voters a second time for a full two-year 31st District term.

An independent group known as “Californians for Fiscal Accountability and Responsibility, sponsored by dentists, physicians, health care workers, Realtors and school employees” is paying for the ad campaign.

It is one of two big-money groups that are running independent campaigns in support of Arambula and against Olivier. The other is known as “Healthcare Providers for the Central Valley supporting Arambula and opposing Olivier for Assembly 2016, sponsored by doctors and dentists organizations.”

In total, the two groups have raised more than $500,000.

Olivier has constantly referred to Arambula has a “puppet” of Sacramento special interests for his large number of Sacramento campaign contributors, but also including the group funding this current ad campaign. A call to the organization was not returned.

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