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Mailed-in accusations: Mailer from Americans for Good Government makes claims in clerk-recorder race

Americans for Good Government, a Grass Valley-based group, has distributed a mailer attacking Natalie Adona, the county assistant clerk-recorder running for the chief position, calling her a “carpetbagger,” alleging she used public money to fund “an advertising campaign” for her candidacy, and claimed widespread disgruntlement among the office’s staff.

The ad features an image of Adona and the words: “This election vote for anyone but Natalie Adona.” The back of the ad makes unsubstantiated allegations.

Contacted Friday, Adona called the ad “hurtful,” saying she wants the campaign to focus on the office and the issues.



““I don’t want to elevate it. I really don’t. From my perspective, these are all lies,” Adona said of the blurbs. “I’d rather focus on my qualifications and what I’ll bring to the county.”

Jason Tedder, who along with Paul Gilbert and Adona is running for clerk-recorder, said he had nothing to do with the mailer.



“I was not involved in the production or dissemination of the AFGG mailer,” Tedder said in an email. “My campaign is about bringing community together, I don’t believe that the AFGG mailer serves that function. I display my idea of appropriate campaigning through my actions every day; by being positive, engaging, and receptive to all viewpoints.

State records show Americans for Good Government spent $8,382.25 at Placer Mailing Services. It’s received contributions from Nevada County Republican Party Chairman Bob Hren, and local attorney Barry Pruett.

Local Republicans have endorsed Tedder.

“My contribution in 2021 was to help bring the balance up to the increased bank minimum level to avoid monthly fees,” said Hren, who gave $250, in an email. “At that time there was no contemplation of any specific action communicated to me by AFGG.”

Hren said he is not a controlling officer of Americans for Good Government, adding, “the Republican Party is independent from this PAC and vice versa.”

‘ALL OF THE INFORMATION’

Pruett, who this month gave $2,000 to the group, said he contributed in order to better inform Nevada County voters of the truth.

“In order for the electorate to make educated decisions, the voters must have all of the information about the candidates,” Pruett said.

Pruett represented three people who earlier this year were accused of forcing their way into the elections office while not wearing masks. The county sought restraining orders against all three, though a judge opted to impose an order against only one of them.

Pruett claimed that both the content and the tone of the public service message came from former election staff and current county staff. He pointed to Sandy Sjoberg, a former assistant clerk-recorder, saying she could verify certain claims on the flyer.

The mailer makes claims like Adona has made a hostile work environment, and has told staff she hates living in Nevada County.

Sjoberg’s last day with the county was Oct. 11, 2019. Adona’s first day was Oct. 14, 2019, county officials said.

No other election official has made claims about Adona.

The mailer also makes other claims. One is that Adona is a “carpetbagger” who is seeking office in an area where she has no connections.

Adona has said she received her bachelor’s in political science at UC Berkeley, and began her career in election administration training in the Bay Area.

The ad also claims Adona has used public money to fund an advertising campaign.

The ad, which cost $356.40, prominently featured Adona’s name at the top. Adona has said she shares communication responsibilities with Clerk-Recorder Greg Diaz, who isn’t seeking reelection.

“When it was brought to our attention that this Q&A could be misconstrued, we agreed that it’s a good point and so the remaining Q&As for the newspaper will be from Greg,” Adona previously said.

FORMER ASSISTANT

Sjoberg, who formerly held the assistant clerk-recorder position, said she shared her experiences and concerns with someone, who then used those words to create the advertisement.

Some of Sjoberg’s claims also appear on the website for Americans for Good Government.

Sjoberg said she worked under Diaz for four and half years before he reclassified her out of her assistant position, rewriting the role description to require a college degree.

Sjoberg lives in Placer County, as she did during the entirety of her almost 20 years with Nevada County, she said.

In May, John Young — identified in campaign documents as a self-employed consultant — donated $2,022 to Americans for Good Government. Susan Walsh, a self-employed researcher in Nevada City, donated the same amount.

Sjoberg said Pruett and Walsh sent her the advertisement when it was finished, and noted that although she endorsed Tedder in a press release that ran in The Union last week, she would not have worded the advertisement in such a derisive way.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com

Editor Alan Riquelmy contributed to this report


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