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salladay.jpgIn the age of smart phones, YouTube and Twitter, a public train car probably isn't the best place to talk campaign strategy.

Assembly candidate Michele Martinez learned that the hard way this week.

The Orange County Democrat, who now serves on the Santa Ana City Council, was apparently dishing on her cellphone about her campaign and other Capitol gossip during a ride from Sacramento to the Bay Area on Thursday morning.

Sitting nearby? Bob Salladay, a veteran political reporter who's now a senior editor for California Watch, a nonprofit investigative news outlet.

When some of her comments suggested that she was "working with" an Indian tribe on independent expenditures -- a potential violation of the Political Reform Act if she was coordinating independent spending that benefited her own campaign, Salladay took notice.

He then began to tweet.

"I'm working with chairman Robert Smith from Pala. Yeah, they are going to come in real big with some IEs," Salladay quoted her as saying on his Twitter feed.

Also overheard by Salladay? Martinez's complaining that Democratic Assemblyman "Mike Gatto didn't want to endorse me because rumor has it he wants to run for Speaker" and talking about securing an endorsement from Assemblywoman Norma Torres, D-Pomona.

Doug Elmets, a spokesman for the Pala Band of Mission Indians, said Martinez had contacted the tribe's chairman about supporting her bid for the 69th Assembly District, but that no decisions had been made.

The chairman "was approached by Michele (Wednesday) night, but it wasn't about an IE, it was about support for her," Elmets said Thursday. "He made absolutely no commitment to endorse her or to support her, and in fact said to her that she, like any other candidate that the tribe considers supporting, needs to go through the interview process with the entire Pala tribal council."

Martinez, whose campaign has not responded to The Bee's request for comment, released a statement to local media calling Salladay's actions "disrespectful, dishonest and downright creepy."

"I don't know what's worse; someone secretly listening to a private conversation without consent or misrepresenting that conversation publicly. ... Now, I'm even more motivated to bring INTEGRITY, civility and honor back to public service in Sacramento," she said in a statement.

Salladay turned back to Twitter to issue his own response.

"There is nothing secret," he tweeted, "about an elected official talking loudly on a public train."


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