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State watchdog drops anti-Measure A campaigners’ complaint

Submitted by on 1, March 21, 2011 – 12:02 amNo Comment

A state watchdog has opted not to pursue a claim accusing Measure A supporters of campaign improprieties, The Island has learned.

“While the flyers submitted with the complaint contain express advocacy … there is no evidence that public moneys were used in the designing, producing, printing or formulating the content of the item,” the state Fair Political Practices Commission’s executive director, Roman Porter, wrote in a March 9 letter to David Howard and Leland Traiman, a consultant for and a principal in the Committee Against Measure A campaign.

Porter said that information provided with the complaint indicated that Alameda SOS paid for use of the school facilities pictured in the campaign mailers and that Howard and Traiman provided no evidence that the school district paid teachers to appear in them. The pair’s complaint included a March 3 article from The Island about complaints filed by both campaigns, for which school district officials supplied copies of permits the Alameda SOS campaign paid for and received to shoot the mailer photos.

Howard and Traiman said in their complaint that Measure A proponents had used school property and public resources for “Yes on A” campaign mailers, a move they said amounted to express advocacy of the parcel tax measure. The complaint names two principals of the Alameda SOS campaign, a pair of the campaign’s consultants, Alameda schools Superintendent Kirsten Vital and the teachers who appeared in the pro-A mailers.

“What if the Ku Klux Klan rented an AUSD classroom, took photographs therein and published it in their literature, implying an endorsement by AUSD of their cause?” an attachment to the pair’s complaint said.

The Island received an e-mailed statement from Howard on February 27 saying Traiman had filed a complaint against Vital and others. On Saturday, The Island received a copy of a complaint with the same allegations filed by Traiman and Howard that was signed and dated March 4.

Neither Howard nor Traiman responded to an e-mailed request for comment.

Alameda SOS chairman Michael Robles-Wong filed a complaint against the Committee Against Measure A on February 23 alleging the campaign illegally issued robocalls that failed to identify who paid for them. A campaign spokesman said Saturday that the FPPC is investigating that complaint.

Voters approved Measure A on March 8, with 68.01 percent of voters saying “yes” to the school parcel tax measure according to official results.

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