Anatomy of a cleverly crafted, election “hit-piece“.

Sequoia Healthcare District CEO seals the deal!

By Jack Hickey

In mid September 2018, Mark Simon, Political Climate columnist for Climate Online Redwood City, informed me that he was writing a story about the Sequoia Healthcare District election and asked me for information. On September 17, 2018 I sent an e-mail in response to his request. Mark acknowledged receipt of that e-mail at 11:48 AM. The e-mail contained the below statement, as well as Cash Disbursement Journal excerpts showing district expenditures for my health insurance benefits in the amount of $779.86 for J.Hickey health premium May 2018(CalPERS) and $127.86 for J.Hickey healthcare premium reimbursement(Medicare) for January-March 2018:

“When my motion to replace the Health insurance reimbursement with a meeting stipend was rejected, I accepted reimbursement for my Kaiser Senior Advantage and Social Security Medicare cost, which was less than $300/month. Several years later, the District signed me up with CalPers, which is now at 779.86/month. My Medicare is $134/month for which I receive a $127.86/quarter reimbursement from the District.”

When the "hit-piece" came out on October 25, 2018 8:32:24, Mark Simon did not post the numbers which I provided to him. Instead, he posted a ridiculously low figure of $43/month, “…based on Hickey’s own assertion…”, as my cost to the district. It took only 2 minutes from the time my opponent, Aaron Nayfack, posted Simon’s “hit-piece” on his Facebook page, for Sequoia Healthcare District CEO, Pamela Kurtzman, to respond.

Did Mark Simon’s deception trigger Pamela to post a comment, “in the interest of transparency”, to clarify the cost of my health insurance premium at $822/month? Was her grossly misleading statement that it “…amounts to about $158,000 over his 16 year tenure.” in the interest of transparency, or something else? Or, was this all part of a pre-arranged script? If so, who were the actors?

Why did the CEO not contact me to get the facts before jumping to the conclusion that I misled Mark Simon? And, when she received and read a copy of the information provided to Mr. Simon(cited above) which I sent to her on October 26, 2018 10:41 AM, why did she not set the record straight with another post? Instead, she responded on October 26, 2018 2:16 PM(with cc to Mark )

“Jack, you led Mr. Simon to think that the District paid only $43.00 per month for your health insurance. I was only looking to provide accurate information when citing the true cost to the District. “

Emboldened by Pamela’s support, Simon publishes a second “hit-piece”on October 26, 2018 18:02:32 in which he states: “What he didn’t disclose is the additional $822 a month the district has to pay for his insurance premiums.” That’s a lie! My disclosure to Mark in the e-mail linked above included a $779.86 payment to CalPERS and $127.86/quarter = $42.62/month. That equals $822.48!

On October 28, 2018 12:13 PM the CEO spread the lie in an e-mail to Art Faro who asked “How much does Jack actually get?” Her response:

“The actual cost is $822.48 per month. It’s true that the District does provide a reimbursement check to Jack for $43.00, but he neglected to mention that we pay his Calipers and Medicare (-10%).”

I have been gathering information pursuant to a California Public Records Act request in an effort to answer these questions. More questions have arisen.