Is Victoria Kolakowski, Candidate for Alameda County Superior Court Judge, Violating California State Law?

Vote No for Victoria KolakowskiLast Sunday (as previously blogged) I was disappointed after having my son’s baseball game interrupted by an annoying impersonal robocall from Victoria Kolakowski’s Superior Court Judge campaign. I’ve sort of been going at it with Vicky on my blog and on her Facebook page over the past week on what I feel is unethical campaigning on her part.

Earlier today I was made aware that the robo calls that she has been making are very likely in fact illegal according to California State law (thanks to EndTheRoboCalls for the information on this illegality). Certainly someone who is currently a judge and running for another more serious judge position ought to obey California State law. Our judges are elected to know, enforce and most certainly abide by state law themselves.

To make matter worse, Kolakowski’s current position as a law judge is actually with the California PUC, the very agency that documents the illegality of the robo dials she is making.

I just fired off the following email to the three candidates currently running for Superior Court Judge in Alameda County.

Gentlemen and Vicky:

I was recently made aware that robocalls are illegal in the state of California per the California code.

Here is the relevant section of the code.

Here is a document by the California PUC documenting that robocalls by political candidates are in fact illegal according to California State law:

Here is also an article from the San Jose Mercury News discussing the illegality of these calls:

In fact, just last week, the Santa Clara District Attorney settled for $900,000 with one such company who was illegally using robocalls.

Last Sunday I received one of these illegal calls from Victoria Kolakowski’s campaign, on a Sunday during the middle of my son’s baseball game on my cell phone at that. I have saved a recording of the call if any of you would like a copy. Vicky has acknowledged that such a call was made both on my blog as well as on her Facebook page.

Question. Why would someone running for judge violate California State law? Shouldn’t a judge, who is given tremendous legal responsibility in our society, know, abide and uphold the law?

Update: I sent off an email earlier this morning to Oakland City Attorney John Russo. City Attorney Russo was the person whose voice was used for the illegal robodial by Kolakowski’s campaign. Certainly someone who is City Attorney of Oakland and sworn to uphold the law should not be participating in this illegal activity by Kolakowski. If you’d like to hear his message you can hear it here: Illegal Robodial By Victoria Kolakowski’s Campaign

I will update this post with Russo’s position when I hear back from him.

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  1. Shaun Dakin says:

    Great post Thomas:

    Yes, it is amazing that politicians, particularly ones running for judge, decide that existing law doesn’t apply to them.

    Why? Because it is inconvenient. They don’t like this law so they decide not to comply, knowing (wink wink) that other politicians won’t enforce the law either.

    Imagine if they decided that the DWI Law was inconvenient to them?

    Here is a quote from a CA member in the last week about why this law has consequences (Regarding Meg Whitman’s illegal robocalls)

    This letter is to advise you that you are in violation California Public Utilities Code Sections 2871-2876. This week alone I have received 2 Robocalls from your offices on a line dedicated to my AICD (Defibulator and Pacemaker). The use of robocalls is clearly outlined in California Public Utilities Cod Sections 2871-2876. This violation of the PUC rules has been reported to AT&T and the PUC. Continued interference with my medical line will result in a law suite as well as a campaign to notify all Californians how little regard you have for the law. Based on these violations I will not vote for you as obviously you do not have the best interests of Californians in mind, only self promotion and greed for power. As a disabled veteran I fully intend to bring up these violations as well as the recorded messages you have left on my machine during the next Northern California Viet Nam Veterans meeting. This phone # is unlisted, blocked, and on the government do not call list, none of which is required to stop your violation of the PUC rules. I pay for this medical line. It was specifically installed for my medical needs, the need for my ACID pacemaker Defibulator to report to the VA Hospital and the hospital to leave me messages. NOT FOR YOUR POLITICAL AMBITIONS! You will not receive my vote.


    Shaun Dakin
    The National Political Do Not Contact Registry

  2. We post full links on our website to as many state laws as we can find on automated dialing announcing devices:

    There you will find links to California’s PUC § 2872 part (f), “This article does not apply to any automatic dialing-announcing device that is not used to randomly or sequentially dial telephone numbers but that is used solely to transmit a message to an established business associate, customer, or other person having an established relationship with the person using the automatic dialing-announcing device to transmit the message, or to any call generated at the request of the recipient.”

    The term “established relationship” is not defined in statute as party membership, organizational affiliation, registered voters, previous donors, or campaign volunteer lists. It might also include existing customers, clients in the collections process, raffle or sweepstakes participants, and others.

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    Winning Calls. Victoria Kolakowski has no “established” relationship with me whatsover. What she is doing is illegal and she should pledge to stop using robodialers. She should also voluntarily agree to abide by the “do not call” list as the ethical thing to do.

  4. William Beem says:

    For reasons I can’t understand, I got e-mail today from a vendor selling a service to “stay connected with your voters: give them a call.”

    If you’re curious about it, the vendor was I’ve never run for any office, so I can’t understand how they targeted me.

  5. PUC clarifies an additional reason (might be a lot more) why many robocalls are legal: