Complaint Filed with Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission Regarding Yes on T’s Illegal/Fraudulent Endorsements
In an effort to stem the rampant dishonesty of the campaign to rezone West Berkeley to profit a few big developers, as reported in the Berkeley Daily Planet and on berkeleyside.com, on October 17 I filed two complaints with the City of Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC).
First, the Yes on T campaign cites the Telegraph Avenue Property & Business Improvement District as an endorser. According to City Attorney Zach Cowan, business improvement districts are City entities and as such (except for the council) cannot legally endorse in elections. This endorsement is illegal.
Second, the Yes on T campaign cites Berkeley SEIU Local 1021 as an endorser on its webpage and on a mass mailer. In fact, SEIU Local 1021 opposes Measure T, as indicated on the Endorsements page from the union’s website. (The union has repeatedly asked Yes on T to remove SEIU’s name from the campaign website; as of this writing, the union’s name still appears there; by now, it may be gone.)
Individual chapters of the union cannot take positions contrary to those held by the union as a whole. This endorsement is fraudulent.
The FCPC’s next meeting is Thursday, October 25, 7 pm, at the North Berkeley Senior Center, Classroom C. My complaints about Yes on T should be on the agenda. I invite Berkeley citizens who value fair and honest elections to attend and voice their protest.
Even if the commission sustains my complaints and penalizes the Yes on T campaign, the damage has been done: the endorsement cannot be removed from the mailers that have gone out to thousands of voters. Many voters may have already sent in their absentee ballots.
Moreover, as detailed by the articles in the Planet and Berkeleyside cited above, illegal or fraudulent endorsements are just a tiny sample of Yes on T’s dishonest claims. I hope Berkeley citizens see through this Rovian campaign and vote no on Measure T.