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Op-Ed: Don't Be Fooled by Deceptive Slate Mailers

Read the fine print if you really want to know who’s behind that literature, suggests Encinitas City Councilwoman Teresa Barth.

Dear Editor, 

By now your mailbox has already been flooded with campaign literature. Mixed in with the glossy flyers are slate mailers.

Slate mailers are for-profit statewide businesses with no official association with political parties or interest groups. They are regulated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission and must disclose payments made and received in connection with the production of slate mailers. 

These businesses operate under trustworthy sounding names such as Voter Education Group, California Public Safety, COPS Voter Guide, Save Prop 13, Democratic Voters Choice, Continuing the Republican Revolution, Budget Watchdog, California Vote Green or Woman’s Voice.

The names are chosen specifically to imply affiliation with an endorsement by established organizations. A number of slate mailer companies use the same return address. California Voter Guide and Budget Watchdog use the same Torrance address. Save Prop 13, California Public Safety and Woman’s Voice use the same address in Laguna Niguel.

Legitimate political parties and organizations do send out slate mailers. The candidates listed on these mailers are vetted through an interview process and have earned the endorsement.

So how do you tell the difference? Like everything else, read the fine print. In the smallest print size allowed, you will see a disclaimer statement that reads: “Appearance is paid for and authorized by each candidate and ballot measure which is designated by an *” (asterisk). Those candidates without an asterisk didn’t pay to be listed and probably didn’t even authorize the use of their name and photo. They were included to give the mailer a look of legitimacy. 

Slate mailer companies are also used by various individuals to send out last minute "hit pieces" on candidates. By using a slate mailer the actual contributors can remain unknown until after the election when the contribution reports are filed with the FPPC. These companies also provide a means for contributors to, legally and illegally, circumvent local campaign contribution limits.

In the 2010 election, the Voter Education Group sent out a mailer endorsing candidates Kristin Gaspar and Dan Dalager and blasting me. The group was later fined more than $110,000 by the FPPC for various financial reporting violations. 

It’s not illegal to pay for a slate mailer endorsement, but is it ethical? 

Don’t be fooled. Do what I do...toss them in the recycle bin.

Thank you,

—Teresa Barth, Encinitas City Councilwoman

If you would like to submit a Letter to the Editor, please email it to marlena.medford@patch.com.

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change4encinitas October 17, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Typical Andreen stereotypes and hyperbolous statements: So now the survey is tweaked so that people East of Quail Botanical Gardens are the 98% satisified? The morale of the survey: We love Encinitas, and we need to worry about the future. Time to dump Stocks. When Mr. Stocks says he'll try to respect community characters, we should all be very worried. When it comes to straight talk, one needs to take a look who has been throwing money at Stocks in the previous elections: The majority is out-of-town interest, most of them real-estate developers.
Mike Andreen October 23, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Whew. Who knew Jim Kydd's Coast News would be the biggest 'Fake' Group? Mrs. Barth did; she must be prescient because she stated last Monday,"By using a slate mailer the actual contributors can remain unknown until after the election when the contribution reports are filed with the FPPC. These companies also provide a means for contributors to, legally and illegally, circumvent local campaign contribution limits." Well said, Mrs. Barth! Good call. Sure, it wasn't a slate mailer, it was almost as good. it was front page advertising that disguised both Jim Kydd's secret identity, but will also lead to public disclosure of the financiers of the 'Dump Stocks' movement. Think someone's working on the IRS and FPPC complaint paperwork while you all sleep late this morning. 14 days, can you just feel the momentum swinging? Let's don't be 'fooled', as Mrs. Barth said.
Mike Andreen October 23, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Coast New Publisher Jim Kydd and Coast News Opinion Writer Andrew Audet 'Manufacture' and 'Stage' the news rather than report it or comment on it. Go here: http://newencinitasnetwork.org/blog/?p=761 Sunday's incredibly revealing interview with Jim Kydd in which he inadvertantly admits to having been running a General Purpose Recipient Committee that has allowed many to pay for 'Dump Stocks' advertising, bumper stickers and everything else, including a second website. (Many photos in evidence supporting Jim Kydd's secret identity and leadership in the plot by the late councilwoman's supporter's pledges to drive Jerome Stocks out of office after 9-16-12. great work by Ernesto Lopez, possibly big big trouble for Jim Kydd and the Coast News. More later. http://www.northcoastcurrent.com/tag/jim-kydd/
Vikki St. Mary October 27, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Mike Andreen I do do not know much about you except for what you have been flooding here at Patch, North Coast Current, North County Times, etcetera. Why are you flooding these sites with such meanness? Have you nothing better to do than to literally sit here for an HOUR waiting for people to post??? Stop with conspiracy theories and consider maybe they're actually BUSY with other things in their lives!!!
Mike Andreen October 28, 2012 at 03:17 PM
"Making Things Up In Your Neighborhood" is the new motto for the Coast News and Publisher, JIM KYDD. For those who would prefer silence to the truth, where is Mrs. Barth asking for 'transparency' and 'openess'? The fact is Jim Kydd is the mastermind a three dozen supporters of the late councilwoman took a pledge to drive Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks out of office. Ironically, the two candidates that Kydd endorsed are running on 'Ethics' and for the past six weeks have absolutely proven to the electorate that their understanding of 'Ethics' includes Shaffer's Kathleen Lindermann strong-arming businesses to remove their Muir and Stocks signs and Tony Kranz falsely accusing an innocent man with absolutely no proof; topped off with three of the top five ringleaders of this 'jihad' Gerald Sadomka, Bob Bonde and Andrew Audet being sued for political violations! I can't take credit for making everyone aware of the Shaffer/Kranz behavior, but it is only through a small error that Jim Kydd's Dump Stocks responsibility was brought to light and now that he has radically changed his story several times, his fellow travelers want the story to go away. Don't blame them, but I doubt Jim Kydd's paper is going to cover the FPPC investigation: do you? So it is up to individuals in the cyber-world to dig out the truth. Everybody have a great day!

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