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City Ethics Commission Fines San Diego Political Group $7,500 For Violations

A $7,500 fine was levied against a group that funded automated calls during last year's mayoral campaign, asking in part whether a candidate potentially being San Diego's first openly gay mayor would affect the recipient's vote, because its principal officers and address were not disclosed and expenditure records were not maintained, the city's Ethics Commission announced Friday.

According to the commission, the principal officers of "Conservatives for Gay Rights Supporting Carl DeMaio for Mayor 2012 with Major Funding Provided by the Charles McHaffie Trust" were Juan Boyce, Jesus Cardenas and Cynara Velazquez.

A form filed with the city identified only Boyce.

The committee's other organizers and financial backer were supporters of Bob Filner, DeMaio's opponent in last year's mayoral race, a San Diego newspaper reported.

"The failure to provide accurate and complete information about the individuals responsible for operating the committee and determining its campaign strategy deprived the voters of important information before the November 2012 general election," Ethics Commission executive director Stacey Fulhorst said. "The situation was exacerbated by the fact that the committee disclosed an address for a 'virtual office' instead of an actual street address as required by law, effectively preventing anyone from locating the individuals in charge."

Ethics Commission Chair William Howatt, Jr., said that the maximum $5,000 fine for failing to disclose all principal officers was appropriate in light of the factors, and that the individuals involved had "no credible explanation for omitting this important information from the committee's disclosures."

According to the Ethics Commission, the committee also failed to maintain records of the amount of mailers produced or number of automated calls made by a research company.

The commission provided copies of the mailers, and of the call's script, in which voters were first asked which candidate they would choose. A Filner response was met with "Thank you for supporting Bob Filner. Conservatives for Gay Rights In Support of Carl DeMaio for Mayor 2012, with major funding provided by the Charles McHaffie Trust."

A DeMaio response was followed by five questions regarding endorsements, pension benefits and his advocacy on small business growth. Two questions referenced DeMaio's homosexuality, including "If you knew that Carl DeMaio would be the the first openly gay mayor of a big city, would you be more likely or less likely to vote for Carl DeMaio, or does this fact make no difference?"

Houston Mayor Annise Parker, elected in 2009, is considered to be the first openly gay big-city mayor in the United States.

Comments

Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | October 12, 2013 at 2:29 p.m. ― 1 year ago

This article doesn't indicate how many calls were placed -- whether they were made by robots or people -- or whether they were effective in the view of journalists and/or knowledgeable sources. I was troubled by a few homophobic comments about Carl DeMaio's life action hero and/or publicist companion with reference to damage to a certain lily pond in Balboa Park twice or three times -- but then I called 250 voters most likely to vote for Bob Filner anyway (for whom the response was very positive indeed). I announced to other campaign workers at the Filner for Mayor Headquarters (near the El Cortez Hotel) on election eve that it was very, very likely that we would win.

Some of the candidates for mayor in next month's election are listed on the San Diego County Registrar of Voters' website. If you want to know how to send them money or contact their campaign that's a good place to start. But it was reported in the local newspaper(s) that three dozen wanna bees had pulled papers to run, and if true, half of them may end up owing the Ethics Commission $5,000 or $10,000.
Do the Commissioners get to keep the $$$?
As it is, I've sent DeMaio for Congress $10 not because of his sexual preference but because San Diego's Congressional Delegation all voted an increase in funding for the National Security Agency. And Carl said he'd have voted "NO."
I'd have voted for Lori but she stayed out.
Nineteen women denounced the former mayor.
But not one of the current crop of candidates to replace Bob Filner has been reported to be of that gender.
Of course, the current acting mayor is homosexual, but does that really matter?

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | October 12, 2013 at 11:46 p.m. ― 1 year ago

Yes it absolutely matters to the overtly religious who think being gay is an abomination. But to the rest of us who see a young leader trying to do some pretty ambitious things considering his short tenure. We could probably find something that actually affected our citys day to day ops to critique him on.

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