The Nov. 6 contest between Lori Frugoli and Anna Pletcher for Marin County district attorney isn’t getting any friendlier.
On Monday, Frugoli, a Marin County deputy district attorney for 28 years, accused Pletcher, who spent 10 years working as a prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice in San Francisco, of publishing “outright lies” in a recent campaign mailer.
In a released statement, Frugoli’s campaign wrote that Pletcher “attributed four demonstrably untrue positions to Lori Frugoli without providing a shred of evidence to her defamatory claims.”
Frugoli’s campaign called on the Marin County Democratic Party and the Marin Group of the Sierra Club to revoke their endorsements of Pletcher.
“These organizations should not stand idly by while their endorsed candidate knowingly peddles false slurs about her opponent,” the campaign wrote.
Paul Cohen, chairman of the Marin Democratic Party, responded, “The Marin Democratic Party stands by its endorsement of Anna Pletcher for district attorney.”
The Sierra Club did respond to a request for comment.
Pletcher said Monday, “You have to remember where this is coming from.”
“Lori has been deceiving voters for months claiming to be the Democratic Party-backed candidate in the race even after a public reprimand by the Democratic Party,” Pletcher said. “I think she needs to apologize to Marin voters for her deceptions.”
Due to a slip-up by the Marin County registrar’s office, Pletcher was allowed to improperly include a mention of that endorsement in her official candidate’s statement.
Pletcher put out a statement of her own on Monday, announcing that she has been endorsed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
The release quotes Becerra as saying, “Anna has what it takes to solve Marin’s toughest challenges. She will fight to deliver justice to sexual assault survivors and protect our environment.”
Those two issues — whether sexual assault victims should have to travel outside the county to get a rape kit exam and whether the Marin County District Attorney’s Office should make environmental crimes a priority — are among the four issues about which Frugoli claims Pletcher is not being truthful.
In her mailer, Pletcher asserts that Frugoli will continue Marin’s policy of sending assault victims out of county, refuse to make environmental crimes a priority, support Marin Sheriff Robert Doyle’s policy of turning inmate release dates over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and fail to focus on rehabilitation programs and restorative justice.
Frugoli’s campaign wrote, “Pletcher simply took the actual positions and words of Lori and willfully told voters Lori holds the opposite positions.”
On Monday, Pletcher defended the information in the mailer. She said on some of the issues Frugoli has changed her position over time.
“She’s been flip-flopping on these issues,” Pletcher said.
To back up that claim, Pletcher’s campaign cited Frugoli’s comment during an American Civil Liberties Union/League of Women Voters debate on April 13.
The Pletcher campaign quotes Frugoli accurately as saying, “The sheriff is following the law. It’s not my job to tell him how to do his job and it wouldn’t be his job to tell me how to do it.”
The campaign, however, omitted what Frugoli said in the next breath: “I would be more comfortable based on what I’m hearing from the community if he only released the information on people who were convicted of felonies.”
Frugoli said she would recommend to the sheriff that he do that.
Regarding sending assault victims to Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center in Vallejo for rape kit exams, Pletcher supplied a copy of a June 3 posting on Frugoli’s Facebook page. In that posting, Frugoli wrote that abandoning the procedure “would be detrimental to prosecution of sexual assault cases in Marin and catastrophic for victims.”
In that same posting, Frugoli wrote, “Marin stopped having rape exams at Marin General because two midwives were busy delivering babies and rape victims were waiting hours; there was poor evidence collection, and inadequate nurse training was compromising cases leading to poor expert testimony, injustice for victims and offenders going free.”
During a debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the ACLU on Sept. 19, Frugoli said she would be willing to return the examinations to Marin if properly trained Napa Solano Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) could be provided. She cautioned, however, that would require funding by the Marin County Board of Supervisors.
Pletcher maintains the SANE examiners can be brought to Marin at no additional cost.
To back up her claims that if elected Frugoli would refuse to make environmental crimes, restorative justice and rehabilitation programs a high priority, Pletcher simply notes Frugoli’s long tenure in the district attorney’s office.
“If you are an attorney in the office and you’ve been there for 28 years and you’re seeking to make change and you feel passionate about an issue, you will make change on those issues,” Pletcher said.
At the end of the Sept. 19 debate, Frugoli said, “Does our office need change? Absolutely.”
“I’m an employee of the office and I’m proud to be there, but I’ve never said that we’re perfect and that change isn’t needed,” Frugoli said. “The real question is who is the most qualified and experienced and capable to lead this office to the future.”