A pair of automated phone calls urging voters not to vote for a Cotati-Rohnert Park School Board veteran have shaken up the race for two seats on the governing board of Sonoma County's third largest school district.
Karyn Pulley, 60, is the target of two robo-calls, each urging voters not to elect her to a fourth term Nov. 6. The first call, which went out about a week ago, cites three votes Pulley allegedly made in her last term. The second call, which surfaced Monday, cites an $18,000 benefits package she receives as a trustee.
The messages are paid for by "Parents For Better Schools," according to the calls.
"I guess I'm disappointed that an election in a small community such as this would turn to this," Pulley said. "My heart tells me that none of the candidates are behind this. That is just not their style, it's not who they are or what they represent."
Herb Williams, a veteran Santa Rosa-based political consultant, was commissioned to place the calls but did not disclose who his client is other than to state it was not one of the three candidates running against Pulley.
"It's a separate committee and not associated with any candidate," he said. "If it was a candidate doing this against another candidate, I would want the candidate to identify themselves."
"They said they only had one interest and they didn't want this candidate to be re-elected," he said. "That was their sole intent."
A group does not have to identify itself if it spends less than $1,000, according to Gloria Colter, Sonoma County's assistant registrar of voters.
"People generally do just that -- they do things just less than the threshold," she said. "It's not uncommon."
Williams said his contract is for less than $1,000.
All three other candidates denied having any part in the calls.
The first call cited three votes Pulley made in her last term, linking her with spending at Mountain Shadows Middle School after the board voted to close that campus and convert a portion of the facility to district offices; spending money on the subsequent renaming of Creekside Middle School; and a vote in September on textbook funding.