|Never underestimate Susan Henderson|
"The illegality of the piece is in part due to the fact that it does not carry any return address information, as required by law, as well as it violates several other State and possible Federal statutes. The FPPC requires that all campaigns literature carry a statement which discloses the source of the expenditures for the item. It is also a requirement that the name of the committee (or individual acting as a committee) appear on the mailer, as well as a statement indicating its' association with any campaign."
So Susan Henderson, who was summarily fired from her job as the Executive Director of the California State Democratic Party in the 1990s for fraudulently impersonating a University of California educated attorney (link), has now shared with us her unlearned interpretation of campaign finance law.
So how do you explain the legal deficiencies of the "Yes On Measure UUT" postcard that many Sierra Madre residents received in the mail yesterday?
As you can see, there isn't any return address information on this card. Making it illegal per Susan Henderson.
But what could be far more troubling is that it's impossible to verify the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) number given on this postcard for a "Yes On Measure UUT Committee" on any government site. The ID #136498 given is certainly not found the FPPC website, and therefore has to be suspected of being either a fabrication or perhaps even an out and out forgery.
The celebrated neo-attorney H. Susan Henderson says these things are required by the FPPC and "several other State and possible Federal statutes" for a card like this. And a failure to do so could cost the perpetrators $5,000 per violation. So what gives?
But where this bogus "Yes On UUT" card could have run afoul of the law is in the misuse of photographic images of uniformed Sierra Madre Police and Fire Department personnel to peddle somebody's personal and political tax agenda on a postcard.
Additionally, the use of images of Sierra Madre government buildings and signage here is also a violation of campaign law as it makes it appear that our city government has taken sides in Tuesday's election, and is using uniformed SMPD and SMFD as postcard models in this effort.
Last night I received the following e-mail from a retired L.A. County Sheriff. This individual wants his name left out of this, but here is his point:
Got a postcard today with on-duty photos of police officers in uniform, a police officer must be off duty when engaging in political activities in the state of California. In addition, a police officer must be out of uniform before participating in political meetings or functions. A police officer may not wear her uniform while campaigning for public office or while supporting a political candidate. A police officer also cannot be forced to participate in politics.
In other words, this "Yes On UUT" postcard could be an illegal effort to give the appearance that the Police and Fire Departments have endorsed Measure UUT.. No address, a possibly forged FPPC number, and an utterly disrespectful and possibly unlawful exploitation of our uniformed officers and firefighters.
Here is where a possible Mountain Views News connection comes in. If you go to the front page of this weekend's MVN you will see that the paper clearly identifies the photos used in the card shown above as being the "Property of the Mountain Views News Archives." In other words, photos of uniformed Sierra Madre emergency service personnel and city properties, controlled by Henderson, were not only used for an illegal political purpose, this was also done with her expressed and now published permission. Here is the screen shot:
It seems entirely conceivable to me that this illegal "Yes On UUT" postcard is at least in part the product of the Mountain Views News. Besides, who else but the literacy challenged H. Susan Henderson could have invented a phrase as bizarre as "ravage our public safety?"
Here are some questions. Did Chief Giannone and Chief Heydorff get a call from anyone asking permission to use their fully uniformed images on this political postcard? Did they give their permission to that person? Was anything signed?
Were they also asked if the images of fully uniformed officers and firefighters under their respective commands could be used for a decidedly political purpose?
Personally I can't imagine that either of the Chiefs was pleased to see their pictures used as part of so inept, shoddy and possibly illegal political stunt. Plus wasn't the picture of our Police and Firefighters standing at attention taken at the most recent 9-11 commemoration at the Fire House? Is that how the photographic record of this ceremony is supposed to be used? As eye candy on an illegal politically driven postcard designed to help push a utility tax hike during an election cycle?
Was City Manager Elaine Aguilar contacted? It would have taken her permission for whomever to use photos of uniformed City of Sierra Madre emergency services personnel. And even then it could still be a violation of applicable campaign laws, especially if the usage was a political endorsement. Which, since this "Yes On UUT" postcard cites April's Measure UUT tax increase election initiative, it most certainly was.
For those who want to get their grubby hands on more of our tax money, apparently nothing is sacred. Or, in this case, maybe not even legal.
More about the Goss-Green postcard
Despite all of the disingenuous yapping in the pro-tax local press, it is clear that the information contained in the controversial Goss/Green postcard is both accurate and properly sourced. We know this because we had previously researched much of the information used in this card for an article posted on this blog. Whoever put that card out had likely picked up a large portion of their data from The Tattler.
You can check some of this out for yourself by clicking here and here.
What makes it worse for Gene Goss is that Susan put him into the position of denying on the record that the information on this postcard is true. Which he clearly did for Henderson's MVN article yesterday. This leaves Gene in a vulnerable position because, as the information on that card is both accurate and well sourced, it gives the appearance that he has once again not told the truth.
I know that some people are upset about the Goss-Green card, but I am not. We have had too much dishonesty at City Hall. This has been going on for years, and the consequences have cost the city's taxpayers millions of dollars. This needed to be called out.
We do this town no favors when we allow such people to get away with fibbing to the taxpayers. It is delusional to think otherwise. Just like it would be a complete abrogation of our duties as citizens to not call out this "Yes On UUT" postcard as we have done here today.
Whoever put the Goss/Green card out, thank you. I only wish more people were as dedicated to truth telling and democracy as you appear to be.