Grassroots vs Astroturf in Tustin

Recall Amante Sign in Old Town Tustin

Our friends at Red County are starting to take a page from the Orange Juice and FFFF blogs, notably, bloggers who hide behind a pseudonym to make a point.  And “City Watcher” has penned a post on the Recall Amante effort to kick Mayor Jerry Amante to the curb before his term expires late next year.

City Watcher is basically calling the Recall group a bunch of amateurs.  And this blogger would be correct — they are a grassroots group of citizens from both parties not part of the current political establishment trying to follow the law and various templates to submit their petition to recall Mayor Amante and they have made mistakes and will undoubtably make a few more.

But I have to ask “City Watcher” what part of “grassroots” don’t you understand?

From Wikipedia:

A Grassroots movement (often referenced in the context of a political movement) is one driven by the politics of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it are natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures. Grassroots movements are often at the local level, as many volunteers in the community give their time to support the local party, which can lead to helping the national party. For instance, a grassroots movement can lead to significant voter registration for a political party, which in turn helps the state and national parties.

Astroturf refers to apparently grassroots-based citizen groups or coalitions that are primarily conceived, created and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or PR firms.

And it’s not surprising to me that every one of the comments generated by this post was negative towards Amante (one post is mine, but only to correct some misinformation).

First and foremost is a suggestion that current Tustin councilwoman Deborah Gavello is involved with the group.  Not true.  If anything, Gavello has distanced herself from the effort rather than incur the wrath of what Tustin’s own PR officer called a “vindictive” mayor.  The second suggestion is that former Tustin council member Tracy Worley is planning a major behind the scenes role.  If that were true, perhaps the mistakes being made on the petition wouldn’t have happened.  This is simply an attempt by the pro-Amante forces to create a scapegoat — someone to rally their troops against.

Well if Ifs and Buts were Candy and Nuts, it’d be Christmas everyday.

We like this comment in particular:

Tustin Recall

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 2011-05-15 12:39.

+A friend asked me to join her at one of the Recall Meetings last week and I was shocked at the number of Republicans and Real fiscal conservatives at the meeting. Fact is there were some demo’s too, but I think they were outnumbered by the conservatives in attendance. I think people are finally getting it …. this guy is no real Republican … more of a money grubbing, self-centered guy who is only interested in making his brother lawyers rich! Get him out! He’s no good for the city of Tustin!!!

City Watcher did report Amante raised $25K at his recent fundraiser, lending speculation “City Watcher” is an Amante insider or perhaps Amante himself. 

With the petition approval due at the end of this week, organizers can begin activity collecting signatures for the recall.  I have to believe it’s possible to collect a significant portion of signatures during the July 4th celebration at Tustin High School alone. 

For information on volunteering, go here to

  2 comments for “Grassroots vs Astroturf in Tustin

  1. May 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Amante may call off the Annual fireworks show if he gets wind that the recallers will be collecting signatures. So, keep it under your hat.

    I do take issues with the Lib’s use of anonymous posting. Although I use a pseudonym, I don’t really hide behind it and use it more as a mini-statement of who I am. I see others doing the same. There are those who truly hide behind a moniker (or avatar) who, for one reason or another, feel they must protect their identity. Does it really harm the blogging community?

  2. May 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Commenters may use a pseudonym; but when you’re blogging I believe it’s more appropriate to attach a name to your work, much like a byline on an article in the newspaper. Newspaper sites require a name, address and phone number for Letters to the editor but comments are the wild west. Why?

    We have our share of blog trolls out there. From the stuff written about me, readers could surmise I’m a Jewish reporter from New York, my daughter goes to Brywood Elementary, my son took a girl named “Robin” to the prom, I was a paid consultant to the Krom for Congress campaign, I’m a paid consultant to the Agran campaign, I’m unemployed etc. None of that is true of course, but all of this was spread by anonymous commenters. I particularly find it amusing to be accused of making comments on days when I my schedule took me out of town or away from a PC/internet access, but I am accused of making a comment anyway.
    That all said, Red County was moving towards a effort where the bloggers posted by name.

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