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View Diary: Petition Fraud in CA: Art Torres sics Jerry* Brown on Arno (45 comments)

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  •  same tactics in OC (2+ / 0-)
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    kurt, BlueStateRedhead

    I contacted the Sec. of State, election fraud division today... he said they are getting some calls.

    My encounter was almost identical to the one described above. Approached, registration bonafides inquired about, told I was signing for a children's cancer hospital and asked to sign "multiple copies", ability to view the other copies obscured by clipboard and rubber band.

    After discovery, signature gatherers go off on eminent domain lecutre series.

    Swung thru the Target parking lot in Rancho Santa Margarita on the way home. Seems I musta scared the one kid, Travis off, but his buddy, John is still out front in his little red and white beanie with his clipboard.

    If there is anyone in the area with a conceable camcorder and a couple kids (they seem to hit them first and fastest), I'd almost bet you'd get the basic BS approach.


    I didn't chase the kid off today because I thought it might help if we could catch 'em in the act, but I simply don't have the equipment to get the job done.

    •  Equipment needed: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exNYinTX, G2geek

      One basic camcorder
      One basic wireless lapel (or lavalier) microphone.
      (thats the expensive item, but some of you must have?)

      Put the mic on an ordinary person, hide the pickup, say inside the cuff of a long sleeve shirt, about 1/2 inch below the opening.  Tape it down, such that when you're holding their clipboard or pen, you can point your arm in the general direction of their mouth. Get as close as possible!  

      The trick is to not get fabric moving over the mic!  Be creative, figure out a way with whatever clothes you got.

      One person (or team) operates the camera with microphone receiver connected.  Get the video recording from a distance.  If you can't hide securely and comfortably, then do it in the open.  Pretend to be videotaping someone else (like your kids?), but as your operative approaches the petitioners, casually get them in frame.  Don't try too hard to get a great shot if it will blow your cover.  You can then pan away, put the camera down, just keep it recording.  Act like you don't understand your camera.  The audio is the real evidence.

      Get what you need and try to get two or three examples, if possible.  A dozen examples is better than one poorly recorded example and a big confrontation.

      If they or anyone asks you what you're doing, admit it, but don't back down.  It's your right to cover this news.

      Then, if you're satisfied, or once you're exposed, try to get a closeup of the petitioners, get their voice and face on tape at the same time, ask them directly what they're doing, do anything to get THEM to talk.  You do only prodding and asking.  THEY are the news.

      I don't have a wireless mic, but I'm going to try to rig something up.

      •  Taping w/o permission (0+ / 0-)

        IANAL and can't look it up right now, but think I remember that it is illegal to tape someone without their permission, at least in certain states.

        Based on memory alone:
        In Maryland, where one Linda taped her conversations with one Monica in 1998. (She got off, but boy did we suffer).

        In Florida,there was the couple who picked up the Republicans strategizing on their police scanner and gave it their Democratic Congress critter, who got in trouble for disseminating it...

        And while on the subject of strategizing, it has been discussed in response to DavefromQueens yesterday, when planning a legal action, it may be better not to strategize in public. Although Dave went on unperturbed....

        •  generally applies to telephone calls (1+ / 0-)
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          In many states you have to get "2-party consent" (the other person's permission, on tape) before you can record a phone conversation.

          CAlifornia is one of those states.

          I know this stuff well (telephone systems engineer here).

          However I'm not aware of laws that require consent before recording a live conversation.  Though frankly I wish there were such laws, with possible exception for press investigations of criminal conduct or official malfeasance etc. etc.  

          •  Public events, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            including simply events that occur in a public space, are legal to record in any way by any person.  One need only to not harrass or impede, etc.  

            Now, I am unsure if this is true for secret recordings, but I believe it is.  How else would the occasional local TV news crew bust the local whore house with hidden cameras?  I don't believe journalists enjoy special privileges in this department.

            Any attorneys reading?

      •  Use a cellphone in speakerphone mode (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        (telephone systems engineer here...)

        Personally I dislike cellphones because the sound quality is typically crappy.

        However, many cellphones have decent handsfree speakerphone capability, and the pickup is surprisingly sensitive.  (Sensitive because the compression algorithms used on cellphones boost "background noises" like crazy; ever notice how when you're talking to someone who's walking on the street, background noises, vehicles, and especially sirens, are piercingly loud?  Read on, friends, as we're about to turn this particular bug into a feature!)

        What to do and how to do it:  

        Get two cellphones (for example yours and a friend's), we'll call them X and Y.  Cellphone X needs to have a hands-free speakerphone mode, and cellphone Y needs to have a headset jack (typically a 2.5 mm. jack).  Now go to Radio Snack and get a "stereo" patch cord that plugs into the headset jack.  The other end of the cord will plug into the stereo audio input of your video recorder.  

        The reason for this setup is that a conventional headset uses three wires: common, transmit, and receive.  You plug this into a stereo audio input and the transmit side is connected to one channel of stereo, for example Left, and does exactly nothing; but the receive side has the incoming audio from the cellphone, and it's connected to the other channel of stereo, for example RIght, and so the RIght channel ends up being the place where the audio from the cellphone is recorded.  Or on your system it might be that Left has the audio and Right is silent, but either way this is the simplest way to do this.  The way that gets the sound on both channels requires custom hardware which has to be built from scratch and is thus expensive, this I know from having built some in my day....

        Now you make a phone call from cellphone X, in speakerphone mode, to cellphone Y.  Answer on cellphone Y.  Once you've established communication, plug your patch cord into cellphone Y's headset jack, and the other end into your video camera's stereo audio input.  Now walk around and test the system.  Test it in a noisy outdoor area.  

        To go field with this, you establish the phone call the same way, do a quick test offsite, make sure the audio is being properly recorded on the video camera (play it back and listen carefully to hear if it's intelligible), and then with the connection still open, put the cellphone back in your shirt pocket or otherwise be prepared to innocently carry it into the conversation with the petition signature gatherer.  

        If you have to carry it in the open:  Pretend to be having a conversation with a friend about something other than politics, preferably something silly such as neighbor gossip.  When you approach the signature gatherer, say "Hold on a second, Bob..." and then say to the signature gatherer, "he can wait, hey what'you got here?"  Now the signature gatherer will be ignoring your cellphone and will launch into the spiel.  

        Don't ask questions that will give them a chance to hedge or back down from asking you to sign all four pages (or however many).  Just go ahead and sign or do whatever is the next part of your strategy.  Which might include getting the signature gatherer's name if that's something you can do legally (I don't know, I only design the technical stuff for these projects!:-)

        And then lick your chops as the law swoops down on these people!

        •  Brilliant, but... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          At first I thought this was a good idea, but because it uses a phone it might fall under the rule of taping phone conversations, even if you're recording a public event.  Might be legal, might not...

          BUT, if you did do this, one could also do this with any cell phone on the receiving end on speakerphone, with a good regular mic held right up to the speaker.  Works better than you might think.

          Remember to put the receiving phone on MUTE!  It wouldn't be good to hear your voice coming out of my shirt pocket shouting, "WE GOT THEM!" when I'm trying to be casual.

          Even so, the real mic should be tried, if possible.

          •  yes, though for video... (0+ / 0-)

            Your method is fine if you want to do audio only and do it from a distance, and you can also buy a recorder connector from Radio Snack that matches the audio on the landline to the recording device.

            Acoustic coupling with a tape recorder mic next to a speakerphone speaker will work but you have to not only mute the speakerphone's mic, but also you have to not make any noise in the room where you're recording.  Otherwise your "Whoopie!" will get on the tape and that's not so good when you bring it into court:-)

            The reason for my cellphone-to-cellphone setup was, it assumes your other person is parked in the parking lot and discretely video taping the whole thing through the windshield.  Thus they would need a cellphone to get the up-close audio to go on the video tape.  

    •  are you there, OC? (0+ / 0-)

      If so..what happened the next day? In the papers? Radio?

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