The documents, which contain no financial details, arrived one month ahead of the traditional Labor Day kick-off to the fall election campaign season.
Catherine Pauling filed for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy in 2008 and Eric Strimling filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2010. Both have confirmed the filings to Action Alameda News.
Receipt of the documents posed a conundrum – six- and eight-year old bankruptcy filings are not “news” in and of themselves, and whether or not these past financial troubles have anything to do with the merit of the renters coalition ballot measure is debatable; the answer to that question may depend on whether one supports or opposes the initiative.
Yet, anonymous personal attacks, whether in online forums or through non-traceable campaign mailers are as much a storied tradition in Alameda politics as lawn signs. That someone would surface the documents is newsworthy as a political campaign turn-of-events – despite the much-beloved “small town feel” and constant talk about “civility,” this is how Alameda rolls. And, Strimling and Pauling, as visible leaders and spokespersons for the Alameda Renters Coalition, are public figures.
Strimling told Action Alameda News that at the time of his filing, he, like many others, fell behind on credit card and mortgage debt, but has come out of the process somewhat wiser. He said the goal of the anonymous source is to intimidate.
Pauling said that at the time of her filing, she had taken guardianship of two young children and incurred significant medical debt. She said the intent of the disclosure is to discredit her.
There remain 95 days before the November 8th election.