July 11 2012 09:34 AM

Super PAC launched a last-minute campaign to mislead voters

Gary Kreep
Photo by KPBS

More than a month after the primary election, we're still wondering how right-wing, "Birther" attorney Gary Kreep received a majority of the votes in his race for a San Diego County Superior Court judgeship. The mystery was further complicated when Voice of San Diego analyzed the precinct data and found that Kreep did exceptionally well in southern San Diego, an area of predominantly Democratic and Latino voters whom one wouldn't expect to support a candidate linked with the Minutemen movement.

One anonymous reader in the South Bay suggested it may have something to do with a last-minute robocall  from a group called Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods (TSN) that attacked Kreep's opponent, Deputy District Attorney Garland Peed. The call, a recording of which was provided to CityBeat (listen below), said Peed would be the "worst kind of county judge," claiming that his use of plea bargains put drug dealers back on the streets. 

"Brian Moore, convicted three times of drug dealing and firearms charges, and all after Garland Peed plea bargained him in 1993. Gang member Moore finally went to state prison in 2009."

Our research indicates that the call conflated two different criminals named Brian Moore. Brian Dennis Moore, who was convicted in 1993 on robbery charges, has been in state prison on and off for 20 years and is currently at High Desert State Prison in Susanville, Calif. Brian Eugene Moore, who went by the name "Hot Dog" in the Eastside Piru gang, was the one convicted in 2009 for dealing cocaine. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods also broke the law: Robocalls are illegal in California unless they're introduced by a real person. This one was not. 

The call isn't one Kreep could have made himself, since the California Code of Judicial Ethics forbids judge candidates from making misrepresentations concerning their opponents. Instead, Kreep's friends said it for him. 

The political action committee (PAC) did not return our messages. It lists one of its directors as lawyer James Lacy, a conservative activist and chairman of Western Conservative Political Action Conference. Kreep serves as WCPAC's vice chair and counsel. TSN's treasurer, Barrett Garcia, also has a history with Kreep. Garcia paid Kreep almost $60,000 in 2010 for consulting on Lacy-linked slate mailers.

The PAC typically focuses on elections to the north, including the La Puente City Council and Orange County judicial races this cycle. In 2010, the committee spent money on races in San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point. Information regarding who funded the anti-Peed robocall won't be available until early next month; the committee did not file the reports required by the state within 24 hours of a $1,000 independent expenditure.

Email davem@sdcitybeat.com or follow him on Twitter @DaveMaass. This story differs from the print version with the inclusion of the California Code of Judicial Ethics. 


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