TERM-LIMIT ADS SPARK OUTRAGE CHICK DEMANDS BACKERS STOP USING NAME, OFFICE.Byline: BETH BARRETT and KERRY CAVANAUGH Staff Writers
Backers of Proposition R -- the controversial L.A. ballot measure -- have sparked outrage by sending mailers that critics say mislead voters about giving City Council members a third term and ending ``pay-to-play'' corruption at City Hall.
A complaint was filed Monday with the city Ethics Commission In the United States, an Ethics Commission is a commission established by State law to discourage dishonest practices by their public employees and elected officials. Almost all American states have such a commission. , and Controller Laura Chick abandoned her neutrality on the measure, calling for its defeat and demanding that backers stop making misleading statements about her investigation of city contracting practices.
``In fact, I adamantly oppose Proposition R, (and) using my name in mailers to voters in support of this measure is duplicitous and intentionally deceiving,'' Chick wrote in a letter to John Shallman, whose Sherman Oaks firm, Shallman Communications, produced the mailers sent to more than 100,000 likely voters.
``Please cease and desist Cease and desist (also called C & D) is a legal term used primarily in the United States which essentially means "to halt" or "to end" an action ("cease") and to refrain from doing it again in the future ("desist"). immediately from using my name, or the Office of the City Controller, in conjunction with the Proposition R campaign.''
Chick disputed that the proposition would have prevented Fleishman-Hillard executives' fraudulent overbilling of the Department of Water and Power -- a claim made in the mailers. The ballot measure imposes restrictions on lobbyists' political activities, but the DWP DWP Department of Work and Pensions (UK)
DWP Drinking Water Program
DWP Dynamic Weapon Pricing (gamin, Counter-Strike: Source)
DWP Department of Water & Power
DWP Drinking Water Protection controversy involved a public-relations firm overcharging for its services and had nothing to do with lobbying activity or the City Hall pay-to-play scandal.
``Nothing could be further from the truth,'' Chick said. ``Proposition R would have had no preventive effect on that matter. I remind you that the City Council actually voted to turn down my request for them to stop the LADWP LADWP Los Angeles Department of Water and Power from paying millions of dollars more to outside public-relations firms.''
Shallman, the campaign's consultant, said Chick's request would be honored but denied that her name or office was used to make an ``express or implied endorsement'' of the measure, and were ``merely cited to reflect her own public statements'' regarding the fraudulent overbillings.
He called Chick ``plain wrong'' in her assessment that Proposition R wouldn't have prevented the public-relations firm scandal.
``Proposition R clearly could have helped prevent the Fleishman-Hillard and other recent City Hall scandals,'' he said. ``While no legislation can ever ensure completely honest behavior, had Proposition R been in effect, it would have made it much more difficult for companies like Fleishman-Hillard to be dishonest.''
The mailers in question say, in part: ``The recent conviction of top executives from PR giant, Fleishman-Hillard, for what City Controller Laura Chick described as 4 million dollars of questionable billing to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is the largest municipal utility in the United States, serving 3.9 million residents in 2006. It was founded in 1902 to deliver water and electricity supplies to residents and businesses in Los Angeles. , demonstrates the need for serious L.A. city government reform.
``Prop R will help prevent firms with close ties to city officials from swindling city government and associated agencies out of millions of taxpayer dollars.''
Stephen J. Kaufman, counsel and treasurer for the campaign, which has been heavily bankrolled by special interests, defended the language on term limits. The connection to Fleishman-Hillard, he said, was used as an example of a company that likely would have been forced to register as a lobbyist subject to tighter regulations if the measure's requirements had been in place.
``What Proposition R does is create a wall of separation between special interests, lobbyists and elected officials,'' Kaufman said. ``Whether it would have avoided a specific case is not the issue.''
Ethics Commission Vice President Bill Boyarsky criticized the mailers as misleading.
``The Fleishman-Hillard case had nothing to do with that (lobbyist restrictions). That was a pretty simple case of overbilling for work they didn't do.''
He said statements that Proposition R will limit council members to three terms in office ``so that no one can serve for life'' make no mention they already are limited to two terms, or eight years.
Liza White, president of the League of Women Voters League of Women Voters, voluntary public service organization of U.S. citizens. Organized in 1920 in Chicago as an outgrowth of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, it had as its original nucleus the leaders of the latter organization. of Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. , who with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce initiated the ballot measure, said the mailers aren't deceptive.
``It says what it says. It will be a third-term limit,'' White said.
Raphael Sonenshein Raphael J. Sonenshein (born 1949) is a professor of political science at California State University, Fullerton. Teaching at the college since 1982, Sonenshein holds a bachelor's in public policy from Princeton University and a doctorate in political science from Yale University. , a political-science professor at California State University, Fullerton California State University, Fullerton, commonly known as CSUF, CSU Fullerton, or Cal State Fullerton, is a part of the California State University system. The University is located in the city of Fullerton, California, in northern Orange County. , who signed in support of the proposition, said the mailer (1) An e-mail program. See e-mail program.
(2) A message sent by an e-mail program.
(3) A person or organization sending e-mail. language could mislead voters, and that the wording is not ``ideal.''
``I know it seems to create the impression they can serve for life now,'' Sonenshein said. ``It's factually true, (but) it leaves out the information that they're currently limited to two terms.''
He said the references to Fleishman-Hillard didn't seem like a stretch, as it's common in campaign literature to illustrate a wrong and offer something that's ``generally'' on the right track to fix it.
``It says the Fleishman-Hillard (case) demonstrates the need for serious reform in Los Angeles.''
Compared with what's happening elsewhere, the mailers didn't seem ``way out of line.''
``You see ads around the country that are not even technically true,'' he said.
Former Mayor Richard Riordan Richard J. Riordan (born May 1, 1930) is a Republican politician from California, U.S. who served as the California Secretary of Education from 2003–2005 and as Mayor of Los Angeles from 1993–2001. Riordan ran for Governor of California unsuccessfully in 2002. , who lent his name to the proposition, said he wouldn't second-guess or denounce de·nounce
tr.v. de·nounced, de·nounc·ing, de·nounc·es
1. To condemn openly as being evil or reprehensible. See Synonyms at criticize.
2. To accuse formally.
3. the mailers, adding that Proposition R is necessary to combat a flawed system in which politicians try to quickly make a name for themselves by introducing ``a lot of destructive and useless legislation.''
Shallman defended the mailers as forthright forth·right
1. Direct and without evasion; straightforward: a forthright appraisal; forthright criticism.
2. Archaic Proceeding straight ahead.
1. , adding that polls indicate 90 percent of voters know council members currently are limited to eight years.
``The suggestion this misleads voters does a disservice dis·ser·vice
A harmful action; an injury.
a harmful action
Noun 1. to the intelligence of voters; we're treating them like grown-ups,'' Shallman said.
Aside from the legal issues, Proposition R opponents said they're disappointed the council would quietly stand by while a campaign to extend their term limits attempts to mislead voters.
``The City Council needs to be held to a higher standard. They should not be allowed to get involved with deceptive election practices,'' said Michael Davies Michael Davies may refer to:
Jason Lyon Jason "Jay" Lyon (born May 24th, 1986 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)
Jason is a member of the Canadian National archery team who has competed in the 2004 World Junior Archery Championships, 2005 World Senior Archery Championships, the 2007 World Senior Archery Championships, , co-chairman of the Not PropR campaign, said during a City Hall new conference announcing filing of the Ethics Commission complaint, ``All of the documentation they're passing out misleads voters into thinking that Prop. R will create term limits. This measure will extend term limits and weaken ethics laws. It's a blatant misrepresentation misrepresentation
In law, any false or misleading expression of fact, usually with the intent to deceive or defraud. It most commonly occurs in insurance and real-estate contracts. False advertising may also constitute misrepresentation. .''
The campaign also was preparing a complaint to file with the District Attorney's Office's Public Integrity Division.
David Tristan with the Ethics Commission said he couldn't discuss complaints filed with the office. However, the city law doesn't regulate what people print in campaign mailers. The state's Fair Political Practices Commission also doesn't regulate the content of mailers.
Lyon also sent a letter on behalf of Not PropR to the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles.
``We are dismayed that the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles would lead a campaign that seeks to win by lying to voters,'' he said.
The league's White said the group's action committee backs the measure, while its education fund has continued to sponsor nonpartisan panels and other events presenting both sides of the issue.
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Campaign fireworks fireworks: see pyrotechnics.
Explosives or combustibles used for display. Of ancient Chinese origin, fireworks evidently developed out of military rockets and explosive missiles and accompanied the spread of military explosives westward to
SOURCE: Committee to Reform LA
Gregg Miller/Staff Artist