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AD-69 Candidate Martinez May Have Leaked IE Tip to Reporter on a Train

Cell phone technology has evolved to the point where the speaker no longer needs to shout into it to be heard, which is a lesson everyone should learn (me included).  In a series of Tweets from Bob Salladay, a senior editor of investigative reporting for California Watch, who is currently on a train from Southern California to Oakland, the reporter is apparently sitting next to or near Santa Ana City Council member and AD-69 candidate Michelle Martinez.  He tweets she’s loudly speaking about her campaign into a cell phone.  The Tweets were posted between (9:45 and 10:30 AM).

From the details Sallady couldn’t help but overhear:

  • That Martinez is allegedly working with an Indian tribe on an IE (independent expenditure).
  • She says: “I’m working with chairman Robert Smith from Pala. (Indian tribe) Yeah, they are going to come in real big with some IEs.”
  • She’s also lamenting: Assemblyman “Mike Gatto didn’t want to endorse me because rumor has it he wants to run for Speaker.”
  • “99% sure it was Michele Martinez, Santa Ana council member. She’s headed to Oak for nurses union interview”
  • “Also said she got Assemblywoman Norma Torres’ endorsement in Sacto yesterday.”

Besides the fact you shouldn’t be discussing “business” in a confined area, Martinez’s comments on the IEs with the Indian Tribe warrant a possible investigation.  IEs are not supposed to be coordinated with the campaign and Martinez’s comments to her caller clearly place her knowledge about IEs with the tribe and her campaign.

There is no update to Martinez’s endorsement page reflecting the Torres endorsement.

California Watch is a news web site founded by the Center for Investigative Reporting. 

Update:  We contacted the Pala Indian Tribe but were told that Mr. Smith and members of the Board were all out of town on business and unavailable for comment.  The tribe’s website features this bio of Mr. Smith:

Robert H. Smith serves as Chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, a position he has held since 1987. Chairman Smith successfully negotiated the first Tribal-State compact in California with Governor Pete Wilson in 1996, and subsequently supervised the opening of Pala Casino, creating thousands of jobs for tribal members and area residents. Chairman Smith’s work for the Pala Tribe includes providing health, vision and dental insurance for all members, creating a $1.5 million home loan program, launching a $300,000 scholarship fund for higher education, purchasing additional land for the Tribal cemetery and securing 24-hour on-site ambulance, firefighter and paramedic service for the Pala Reservation. Chairman Smith is also responsible for the opening of the Pala Library and Pala Child Care Center.

Chairman Smith is a member of the California Tribal Business Alliance, San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority, Southern California Tribal Chairman Association, San Diego Association of Governments, Indian Health Council for North San Diego County, Pala Housing Authority, Pala Fire Department, National Fire Protection Agency, California State Fireman Association, Vivian Banks Charter School Parent Advisory Board and the Cupa Cultural Center. He also serves as Chairman of the California Indian Manpower Consortium and as a delegate on the National Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Leaders Budget Committee, the National Indian Gaming Association and the National Congress of American Indians and the National Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Board.

Chairman Smith resides on the Pala Reservation in Northern San Diego County with his wife. He has four children; Catherine, Victoria, Lorraine and stepdaughter Jodi. Chairman Smith is the great grandson of Lizzie Blacktooth and the grandson of Annie Moro. His parents are Victor and Marie Smith. He has one sister and one brother. A graduate of Fallbrook High School, Chairman Smith enjoys spending time with family, riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle and attending ball games.


  1. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | January 19, 2012

    Note to readers; Mr. sallady sent us a cell phone snap which we don’t have permission to publish. But after seeing it, we can confirm that the person he is tweeting about is Michele Martinez.

    • carlos carlos January 20, 2012


  2. Wireless Wireless January 19, 2012

    Was Martinez using her city issued Blackberry phone while she was so obviously working on her personal campaign?

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | January 19, 2012

      Not sure; I have two cell phones…how many does she have?

  3. Kenlayisdead Kenlayisdead January 19, 2012

    Who wants to bet that the taxpayers of Santana are getting stuck with the bill for the train ride, taxi, luxury hotel, meals and a trip to the day spa after the stressful day of coordinating her IE.

  4. Howard be my name Howard be my name January 20, 2012

    I remember when Michelle was a breath of fresh air in Santana. It makes me feel old.

  5. Angry Bird Angry Bird January 20, 2012

    This is further evidence of the kind of questionable ethics Michelle has. Not to mention not exercising critical thinking skills. You have to wonder about someone in her position having that type of conversation on an open train of all places, not to mention making those comments in the first place. But to be so cavalier to discuss strategy in an open train car, makes one wonder. Michelle continues to demonstrate herself as a novice, and just not that bright. The 69th will be far better served by Mr. Daly for sure.

  6. Lobbyguy41 Lobbyguy41 January 20, 2012

    Betcha the new “more politician friendly” doesn’t even look at this! What an idiot – and then to accuse the reporter of being a stalker! Gotta love those candidates!

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